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Gerontologist. 1989 Apr;29(2):216-23.

The impact of a resident dog on an institution for the elderly: effects on perceptions and social interactions.


A longitudinal case study was made of a sub-unit of a nursing home to examine the perceptions and social interactions of patients and staff after introduction of a resident dog. A behavioral mapping procedure was used to determine staff and patient interactions 6 weeks before and 6 weeks and 22 weeks after the dog's arrival. Interviews were also conducted with patients and staff. Six weeks after the dog's arrival, a significant increase in frequency of interactive behaviors was seen for both staff and patients. By 22 weeks, behaviors for patients had reverted to base-line levels, while remaining high for staff.

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