Wait, Puppies Can Treat Cancer? Maybe, Says The American Humane Association

Puppies: The Best? (Yes.) We've long known that puppies are endowed with certain powers to cure society's ills, like hatred and enmity among nations. Now science is looking into whether they can cure more specific ills, too. Like if puppies can treat cancer, for instance. Researchers at the American Humane Association (AHA) are setting out to scientifically determine that puppies really can make children suffering cancer, along with their families, feel better.

Animal-assisted therapy, or AAT, is a service many hospitals offer to patients who want it, and they're not just used to with those suffering from cancer. These therapy dogs have special training and are often deployed to lend a helping paw to kids and other patients who desperately need a pick-me-up. But though there have been studies done on the effectiveness of AAT, most rely on anecdotal or incomplete evidence, according to the AHA.

Robin Ganzert, the group's president, told NBC that the study would provide the first clinical trial tracking puppies' impact on patient health. Five children's hospitals will participate in the year-long trial, according to a news release.

It’s really this crucial exploration of the child-animal bond and how that is a crucial path to healing.

Right now, proving that dogs should be allowed in otherwise highly sensitive hospital environments is a difficult proposition. Though it's not standard practice to think of fluffy pups as contaminants, hospitals like to minimize the risk of bringing in anything to the hospital environment that might somehow jeopardize a patient's health. To make that risk worth taking, the study would need to show that the pups really do make a difference in a patient's health, AHA's top researcher, Amy McCullough, told NBC.

It all comes down to access. Obviously, we know that the children like to see the dogs, but the folks in risk management want some clinical data.

Here are some other things that puppies solve:

1. Back Problems

All better. Thanks, corgi.

2. Loneliness

Because they'll stop at nothing to hang out with you.

3. Ancient rivalries

It's just NBD.

4. Self-image problems.

Because they love themselves, and you, unconditionally.

5. Boredom

"The sky is awake, so I'm awake, so I have to play."

6. Sadness

Because how can you be sad knowing that this actually happened?