Some of the best medicine comes with four legs and a wagging tail.
Take this handsome dog, Roscoe, for instance. Roscoe has the incredible ability to give voice to a man with Alzheimer's disease who has lost most of his verbal communication skills. When Roscoe is in the room, the man's ability to speak magically reappears.
A video of one of their touching encounters, recorded by the man's daughter, Lisa Abeyta, shows her dad start talking after Roscoe presents him with a chew toy.
"Oh yeah, hey! You've got, you've got something! You've got something, huh?" he says, giving Roscoe an affectionate pat as the dog wags his tail. "Yeah, well, that ... that's too bad, there. That's all. That's all I've got."
Then he says, touchingly, "Why don't I take care. I'll take you. And you take me."
"More than once, I’ve watched [my dad] coo and talk to [Roscoe] even as his ability to form sentences and find the words he needs to communicate has deteriorated," Abeyta wrote in a blog reflecting on the video, adding:
I had no idea the video would touch so many people or be shared so many times. The comments and emails ... have been a wonderfully moving procession of individuals sharing their own journey through Alzheimer's or dementia. It is a cruel disease, and the kind words of others who have faced similar experiences has left me feeling not quite so alone in it all.
According to The Alzheimer's Association, pet therapy dates back to the 1860s, though the positive impact of animals on their owners wasn't studied in earnest until the 1980s.
Good boy, Roscoe!