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The Linda Dano Interview - Canine Companions (Page 1 of 2)

An Interview with Linda Dano - Canine Companions

The Support Partners  Program,, provides practical help for the millions of Americans who are diagnosed with major depressive disorder, and the people who care about them. When you are depressed, you can feel isolated and alone, which is why having a Support Partner can make a real difference. A Support Partner can be anyone who wants to help a friend or loved one who has depression Canine Companions is the newest component of the Support Partners Program. Your dog can have a positive effect on your overall health and wellbeing.

The program will help you understand how your dog can help you cope with depression on a day-to-day basis. It offers practical tips on adding your dog to an existing support network of family and friends.

Gary Barg: Tell me what about the ďSupport Partners Canine Companions ProgramĒ
Linda Dano: In traveling the country and talking with thousands of people, we all realized the vitally important role that our dogs and cats and animals in general play in our lives. They can be more than just the family pet and actually become a part of your support team in a really valuable, intense way. For instance, when Frank died and I went down that terrible road of depression, the one thing aside from my support team of girlfriends and doctors, were my dogs. These dogs were with me when I was all alone, and because I had them, I was never completely isolated. Late at night when I couldnít sleep, when I felt no joy and felt hopeless, they were there.  I had a reason to get up and get out of bed, which is a key thing for someone suffering from depression, as you know. Just any of the little things we take for granted when weíre feeling good about ourselves are hard to do; but if you have a pet, you have to tend to them: you have to feed them, walk them; you get away from yourself for a minute. You have someone to focus on, and we realized how important this element of trying to get our lives back is, so we added canine companions to the Support Partners Program. Itís really working, and people are looking at their pets in a much different light.  Animals help you focus on something other than how bad things are; you look in the eyes of an animal and itís comforting.
GB: What kind of feedback are you getting from caregivers about the program?
LD: I was interviewing a woman in Nashville, and she was talking about her daughter who is a Downs-Syndrome child.  She has a cat that sleeps with her daughter. The mother can see into her daughterís room from her own, and she noticed that the cat jumped off the bed one night and came to the motherís door crying, and then ran back and jumped up on the girlís bed. The mother went into her daughterís room and discovered she was having a seizure. So, I believe that God makes animals to comfort us, to be our little angels, to help us through bad times and good times, help unite a family, and do all the things animals do. I know that my two dogs were extremely important, and continue to be important in my recovery. So with the Support Partners Program, we decided to have people talk about this.. Weíre not saying that if you donít have a dog you need to go out and buy one because there are many ways to incorporate a dog into your life. You can go to a park where there are a lot of dogs; you can baby a friend or family memberís dog. Itís the stroking, itís the loving; and it all helps when youíre struggling with depression.
GB: What is the Psychiatric Dog Service Society?


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