More About Animal Assisted Therapy

We have touched on animal assisted therapy and its applications before; in this post we look at the many ways in which animal assisted therapy is practically used in real situations.

There were reports recently of an autistic child being helped by a pet dog. Until the arrival of Midas the dog, Zach was prone to wandering off. Now however Zach shows much less inclination to wander off, and if he does do so, the Midas’ training kicks in and he prevents the child from wandering too far off.

animal assisted therapy

Not only is the roaming tendency of the autistic child curbed, the dog is also an emotional anchor for Zach, whose parents can now do things with their son that they couldn’t before. There are numerous instances of animals that have helped children heal and live better lives – not only cats and dogs but also unusual pets such as llamas, chickens and turkeys!

Another story about this therapy is that of a hospice offering animal assisted therapy in the St Cloud area. Seven dogs provide companionship for patients and help to improve their mod. They are even useful in getting responses from patients in a coma. The anticipation of an animal visit can elevate the mood of hospital inmates.

Animal assisted therapy can make particular sense for the aged and retired individuals. Pets and the responsibility they represent can give a person a sense of being needed and worthwhile. Even watching a pet such as a fish can have a relaxing impact on the psyche.

Also in the news was the report of another visiting pet program offered by the John Hainkel Jr. Home and Rehabilitation Center. The program consists of about a hundred volunteers who visit 20 health care centers and retirement homes. The animals include cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs etc and are required to have a sunny disposition that makes them ideal candidates for the job. The animals should be bothered by noises and should have an affectionate and calm nature.

The fact that animals give unconditional love is one of the factors that helps patients feel wanted and which can give them a sense of normalcy. The fact that many people would have had a pet as children is something that brings back memories of a happier time and improves quality of life. This is another reason why aged and terminal patients benefit so much from animals and why people seem to enjoy pets almost universally.