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In Isolating Times, Can Robo-Pets Provide Comfort?

By The New York Times

September 29, 2020

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When Linda Spangler asked her mother, in a video chat, what she would like as gift for her 92nd birthday, the response came promptly.

"I'd like a dog," Charlene Spangler said. "Is Wolfgang dead?" Wolfgang, a family dachshund, had indeed died long ago; so had all his successors. Ms. Spangler, who lives in a dementia care facility in Oakland, Calif., has trouble recalling such history.

Her daughter, a doctor, considered the request. Before visitors were barred from the residence because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Spangler had seen her mother every other day, often taking her to Lake Merritt in her wheelchair to see the ducks and to pat passing dogs.

 

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