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How Dogs Can Help Owners Overcome Drug Addiction

Man's best friends have long followed their owners through hard times and stormy weather — and now, even into rehab.

Germany's Schloss Tessin center is the first of its kind in the country and integrates pooches as part of the therapeutical process, Die Welt reports.

The center has even been adapted to accommodate its four-legged guests. In the patients' rooms, for example, the beds are too high for the dogs to jump onto so special sleeping areas were constructed underneath for them. At the moment there are 47 patients and 25 dogs at the center.

Psychiatrist and head doctor at Schloss Tessin Alf Kroker sees big advantages in using the bonds patients have to their dogs in therapy. "Many addicts have broken off all social contact," he told Die Welt. "The central focus of their life became consuming drugs — everything revolved around getting hold of heroin, cocaine, hash, crystal meth or other substances. So, relationships with family and friends went by the wayside and the connection to their dog is often the only relationship that survives."

He adds that many addicts would refuse treatment if it meant being away from their beloved pet. "The animal is trusted unconditionally, it’s like their child, but is also a competent protector," says Kroker.

Other experts have reacted positively to the center's new canine policy. "Animals can give structure to the day and the patient is cast in a positive role as carer," says Ingrid Stephan, who heads the Institute for Social Learning with Animals in Lindwedel near Hannover.

Photo: emma.kate

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How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

American and Southwest Airlines have been refusing to allow Cubans on board flights if they've been blacklisted by the government in Havana.

How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

Boarding a plane in Camaguey, Cuba

Santiago Villa

On Sunday, American Airlines refused to let Cuban writer Carlos Manuel Álvarez board a Miami flight bound for Havana. It was at least the third time this year that a U.S. airline refused to let Cubans on board to return to their homeland after Havana circulated a government "blacklist" of critics of the regime. Clearly undemocratic and possibly illegal under U.S. law, the airlines want to make sure to cash in on a lucrative travel route, writes Colombian journalist Santiago Villa:

-OpEd-

Imagine for a moment that you left your home country years ago because you couldn't properly pursue your chosen career there. It wasn't easy, of course: Your profession is not just singularly demanding, but even at the top of the game you might not be assured a stable or sufficient income, and you've had to take on second jobs, working in bars and restaurants.

This chosen vocation is that of a writer or journalist, or perhaps an artist, which has kept you tied to your homeland, often the subject of your work, even if you don't live there anymore.

Since leaving, you've been back home several times, though not so much for work. Because if you did, you would be followed in cars and receive phone calls to let you know you are being watched.

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