How My Pet Helped Me Heal

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Health.com readers share their stories

Adriene Hughes calls her boyfriend's dog, Peso, her little "sleep assistant." While she was undergoing chemotherapy, he would sleep in the crook of her waist as she napped. "Just the sheer presence of his body next to mine would be enough to make me feel as if I was not alone," she says.

Pet owners know that their pets improve mood, but now studies are showing pets' power to heal. Recent research has linked dogs and cats to health benefits such as higher survival rates after illness, fewer visits to the doctor, and better physical and psychological well-being among the elderly.

"We’ve always known that pets make us feel good. We just didn’t know they were good for us. Now we’ve gone from experiencing it to having a body of evidence," says Marty Becker, a veterinary contributor to Good Morning America and author of The Healing Power of Pets. Here are seven stories of how pets helped in the healing process.

Next: Suky's "penetrating stare"

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