UI children hospital bids farewell to four-legged friend - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UI children hospital bids farewell to four-legged friend

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IOWA CITY (KWWL)--Tuesday patients and hospital staff bid farewell to Stuart, a 15 year-old mixed-breed that has put in more than 240 hours of service since March of 2006.

The UI Children's hospital held a retirement ceremony for the four-legged friend of many.

It's all a part of the the University of Iowa's Furry Friends program, an effort to bring together pets and patients.

Research shows that relationships with animals can have a positive influence on a patient's health.

Studies indicate that interacting with pets can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, decrease loneliness, and enhance feelings of well being.

Stuart's owner, Karla Miller says over the years she enjoyed witnessing these interactions.

"There's nothing else like it being a person who's along to watch that.  Not only is it important for the kids, but it's also important for the parents, the nurses, the doctors.  You can just see it makes a difference for them."

The Furry Friends program began in August of 2003 as a joint project between the UI's recreational therapy and volunteer program.

Online Reporter:  Jason Epner

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