Could pet therapy keep dialysis patients on track with their appointments, medications?

July 5, 2022

SAN ANTONIO – Amber Pena waits all week to see a very special friend. “There’s my boy! How you doing, Nike?” Pena beamed as a perky Rhodesian Ridgeback nuzzled up to her.Pena has been on dialysis for four years.

“I had very severe diabetes. I’d eat something and my blood sugar would be up to 500, and I had a bad hypertension problem. Both are family-related,” she explained. She and other patients with damaged or failing kidneys spend four hours at U.S. Renal Care in San Antonio, three times a week. It can get exhausting, but for the last 11 weeks Pena has been able to meet with dogs like Nike, and she can’t wait to show up for treatment.