The younger generation is where our future lies, and it is young men like Brendan Cardenas who make me think we’re going to be okay. The world needs more young, innovative thinkers who are trying to make the world a little easier for those less fortunate than themselves. That’s exactly what Cardenas is doing in his quest to become an Eagle Scout.
Cardenas, who is from Greenfield, Wisconsin, designed an invention that is expected to have a big impact on people with special needs. It is one of those simple things that most people probably thought had already been invented, but Cardenas saw a need and decided to fill it himself. He’s giving therapy dogs a lift.
For his Eagle Scout project, the young man designed and built a mobile therapy platform. His mother, Mary Jo Cardenas, says that he raised over $360 just to build the device and with the help of his Troop, Troop 598, he assembled it. You may be wondering what the reason for his idea was. It’s simple. Therapy dogs and the patients they help are not always on the same level, and not every patient is able to reach down to have physical contact with the dog.
Cardenas’ invention brings the dogs much closer, and it’s also on wheels. Anthony Arsiniega, manager of Curative Adult Day Services, says that the wheels are key to making the platform practical. He says the platform can be used throughout the building to meet up to 120 clients everyday as opposed to it being locked in a certain spot. If it was stationary, they would have to transport the clients that required the use of the platform, which would be time consuming and unmanageable for some.
From the first conceptual design to the finished product, it took about 1 year to complete. All that time isn’t going unnoticed, and Cardenas is hoping the payoff will be great. The product has yet to be named, but he’s hoping it will at least earn him his Eagle Scout promotion. If he decides to manufacture the product on a larger scale, he may have a lucrative business on his hands.
The benefits of therapy dogs are beginning to be recognized everywhere from nursing homes and hospitals to college campuses and elementary schools. A platform like this one may not be needed in every situation, but it could certainly make a big impact in a lot of facilities. Hospitals and nursing homes would probably be the largest market for this product, but it could be used in any handicap accessible facility.
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Imagine a child in a school that was disabled and unable to bend down to make physical contact with a therapy dog. Having the dog jump up may be too much, but if he were able to climb onto the platform it would bring him right to the child’s level. Visiting with a therapy dog and being able to talk to him may be extremely beneficial to some people, but physical contact can be therapeutic on a much deeper level.
Medical science shows that interacting with a therapy dog can promote physical healing, reduce blood pressure, provide emotional support, and reduce anxiety, fatigue and depression. Visiting with animals can brighten your mood and help you fell less depressed. Research shows that people are more active and responsive both during and after a visit with animals. Medical studies also show that a therapy dog can not only have medical benefits, like stress relief or lower blood pressure, but could also provide a sense of comfort, confidence, and companionship.