No-pets policy not always legal

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Q: My mother was recently hospitalized with a serious illness. Hospital volunteers visited several times and brought along their dog, a mellow, friendly fellow that my mother loved to pet and talk to. Believe it or not, her blood pressure and pain level dropped and she felt better after these visits. Now that she's been released, I'd like to look into finding her a similar canine companion, but her lease specifies no pets. Any suggestions on how I can convince the landlord to bend the rules? --James P. A: It's well known that animals have the ability to soothe our souls -- and that there is often a corresponding physiological benefit, too. In hospital settings, dogs have been shown to reduce patient anxiety, distract patients from pain and loneliness, increase patients' physical and social activity, and provide patients with nonjudgmental sources of affection. If your mother experienced even some of these benefits, no wonder you want to provide her with a canine companion who will offe...