Lufkin first decided to write "To the Rescue" after doing research for two previous books on rescued dogs. "I got particularly interested in the idea that people will take the extra step and rescue them and then go on and train them and get them certified," says Lufkin. "Then the hard part starts where every week you go and visit somewhere.
One dog featured in the book, Linus, visits New York Presbyterian Hospital with his owners and aids in rehabilitation efforts. Linus himself only has three legs because he was hit by a car at a young age, so many people who suffer from diabilities take comfort in interacting with an animal that suffers from a disability as well. "A patient might walk him on a leash if they're practicing walking... They can throw a ball, they can brush him. Those kinds of things where they really try to coordinate physical therapy with the dog as incentive," says Lufkin.
Working with animals helps patients mentally as well. One man came up to Linus and his owner on the street months after being released from the hospital and mentioned how much Linus had helped in his recovery. "I think there's something about animals and people," says Lufkin. "I think having a pet come in makes things seem a little more like home, a little more normal." Staff members love it when therapy dogs and cats visit too.
For more stories on other rescue animals who are now giving back to their community, click here to visit www.FoundDogs.com.
By Erin Petrun