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Therapy Dogs International

By Anne Rose,2014-04-21 22:10
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Therapy Dogs International

Pet-Facilitated Therapy G. Robert Weedon, DVM, MPH

    Therapy Dogs International

    The use of canines to help mankind is known throughout the world. They have been used for guarding flocks, tracking, hunting, search and rescue, leading the blind, and in assisting the deaf and physically challenged. The bond between dog and man dates back to early history, but it wasn’t until recently that a correlation was acknowledged between this bond and the emotional health of humans. Studies have shown that a person holding or petting an animal will cause a lowering of blood pressure, the release of strain and tension, and can draw out a person from loneliness and depression.

    Regular visits from Therapy Dogs and their handlers provide stimulation for conversation in mental health counseling. TDI dogs can even encourage interest in physical therapy. (Not only does petting a dog’s shiny coat feel good, it can be used as the basis for exercise and a reason to start physical therapy.)

    TDI dogs elevate the mood of the facility in general and specifically with the staff and residents’ family members. Families feel better having their loved one live in a facility where the staff cares enough to arrange Therapy Dog visits.

    The dogs bring sparkle to a sterile day, provide a lively subject for conversation,

    and rekindle old memories of previously owned pets. TDI dogs come in all shapes and sizes; real dogs with real personalities and real love to share. Some have pedigrees that stretch to next week, some have been adopted from the local shelter. All are very proud to wear their TDI tags.

    The volunteers in the program and the dogs who visit with those in care facilities do make a difference in the quality of life. Real therapy is provided between animals and people. By recognizing the value of the human-animal bond, TDI has brought, through its membership, joy and comfort to thousands.

    The first time a dog prances into a care facility, most people do a double take. A split second later broad smiles stretch across faces. Regardless of how residents look or how they feel, the animals are happy to see them. Often deprived of acceptance and love, those who live or must stay in a care facility immediately respond to tail-wagging greetings and warm paws.

    Four-footed therapists give something medical science can’t do, without the use of drugs. It has been clinically proven that through petting, touching and talking with the animals, patients’ blood pressure is lowered, stress is relieved and depression is eased.

What I Want You To Take Away From This Visit

    1. Notice the change in the patient’s mentation when he/she first encounters a

    therapy dog.

    2. Does the presence of the therapy dogs evoke responses of memories by the

    patients? Do they discuss previous pets they may have had?

    3. Are the patients stimulated by tactile senses (touching or petting the dogs)?

    4. If there are other family members visiting, do they seem to be drawn in to the

    exchange?

    5. How did you feel before the dogs worked? Did you feel any differently after you

    witnessed the interaction between the patients and the therapy dogs?

    6. If you had an elderly relative in the hospital, would you bring a pet to visit? Animals in Society 3/23/2006

    HON 120/BIO 485

Pet-Facilitated Therapy G. Robert Weedon, DVM, MPH

    Next Week:

    Animals in Religion, Entertainment, and Service

    Regular time and place

    This Week’s Words of Wisdom

    Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you will land among the stars.

    Les Brown

Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you.

    John F Kennedy

    What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.

    Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Animals in Society 3/23/2006

    HON 120/BIO 485

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