Researchers Testing Pet Robot For Hospital Therapy

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DALLAS (CBS11) – Hospital patients are getting a different dose of pet therapy.

Researchers at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center are testing out a pet robot that appears to offer some patients real comfort.

Propped up on a hospital bed inside the critical care unit, comfort just arrived. Susie is a five-pound pain reliever.

Nurse Dorothy Dawes, showed off Susie’s whisker-to-whisker grin.

“The more she’s around people, the more she’ll understand people and be interactive with them,” said Dawes.

Susie gets plugged in with a pacifier to get recharged. She can stay powered up for 24 hours.

It’s therapy – powered by robotics and donated by philanthropists. The price – $6,000.

“She warms me up,” said patient Dawn Raymond.

Raymond is a dialysis patient. On this day, she’s missing her own pets.

“I can’t bring my four cats here. But I’ve got Susie. She makes up for that,” said Raymond.

The flipped friend uses sensors to recognize and react to human sounds.

“The goal of the study is to see if Susie will help decrease patients’ anxiety and agitation,” added Dawes.

“Even though she’s robotic, it’s like she’s almost living,” marveled Raymond. “She’s something you can touch, feel, hold. It’s making me feel a whole lot better.”

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