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Handicapped dogs help handicapped people

Patients at the Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation in Dallas, Texas, may have suffered traumatic injuries or strokes, leaving them handicapped or emotionally scarred, but the adjustment in their lives is made easier by some canine friends, reports.

Two handicapped dogs, Arlo and Chili, participate in the institute's Animal Assisted Therapy program along with 88 other regular dogs. Both dogs have their hind quarters supported by wheelchairs.

"Many of the patients are new to wheelchairs," Linda Marler, the program’s director, told "When they see Chili and Arlo, they say, 'If those dogs can do it, so can I.'"

Marler told the news source that the institute uses dogs to create a homey atmosphere for patients and help them through their often-traumatic injuries. Animals will elicit a reaction when every other method has failed, she said.

Arlo, a 6-year-old miniature dachshund, suffers from a degenerative disc disease that left him paralyzed from mid-back down. Chili, a 6-year-old Staffordshire terrier, was the victim of abuse - thrown over a fence at 8 weeks, she suffered neurological damage that left her back legs paralyzed. The dogs were rescued by Jim and Bettye Baker, founders of Oak Hill Animal Rescue, who then adopted the dogs, rehabilitated them and now use them to help handicapped people.
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