The Italian Almanac

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Puppy Therapy

Doctors at Rome's Gemelli University hospital said that a puppy was a crucial part of helping a 10-year-old girl in intensive care recover from severe depression related to a crippling illness. Portos is the first puppy used by the hospital's pediatric intensive care unit, though pet therapy is widely used outside of hospitals in Italy.

The young girl, suffering from a rare spinal-marrow infection that causes temporary paralysis, only began to smile with the help of puppy and his affection, the medical team said. Not only was the puppy key in helping the girl with post-traumatic depression, therapist said that playing with the dog helped with her physiotherapy, as well.