What’s your favorite part of going home after a long day of work? Is it changing out of your work clothes into comfortable pajamas? Is it pouring a drink, catching up on your favorite reality tv shows, or simply enjoying the fact that you’re not at work anymore?
For most people, the best part about going home is being greeted by their pets. Cats, dogs, and more run up to the door excited to see them! As pets are extremely happy to see their owners they fill them with confidence and joy while relieving stress and anxiety. It’s a simply therapeutic process, which is why we decided to investigate animal assisted therapy.
Service Dogs Vs Therapy Animals
Service dogs do wonderful things after going through vigorous training programs that last up to 18 months or more. They are trained to bring those suffering from seizures their medicine, to help the blind walk safely around the city, especially while crossing the street, and to alert the deaf about ringing phones or loud sirens.
Therapy animals are slightly different. First of all, they aren’t mostly dogs. Cats, horses, miniature horses, llamas, dolphins, and more can all be therapy animals. They can experience as little as 3 months of training and have a relaxed temperament. Also, they’re generally very social.
How Assisted Animal Therapy Helps
The bond between people and animals is very therapeutic, which is why animals are often brought to or live in nursing homes now. Cats and dogs help the elderly lower their blood pressure, build their self-esteem, and boost their confidence.
Studies suggest that nursing homes with animal visits have more active seniors, who live longer and feel more relaxed, with reduced levels of dementia and lower blood pressure. Also, it’s not the people who seek the animals, they somehow find those who are depressed or sick on their own and give them a cuddle or lick to cheer them up.
Therapy Animals also help to reduce the feeling of loneliness and anxiety, making them perfect for trauma victims and those with PTSD. Animals serve as a faithful, loyal companion that help reduce levels of cortisol and stress.
Therapists have found that it’s much easier for some patients to open up with an animal in the office, or while petting and grooming a horse. The animals provide a safe place for people to open up because they don’t know their history, and won’t judge them. They will simply accept and love them.
Animals also teach children and disabled about healthy relationships. Children often learn about where their noise volume should be and how to be more social. They’re attention span, concentration, and self-esteem is also often improved.
Those who are disabled can ride horses to build confidence and core strength as it only takes subtle movements and cues for a horse to respond to them.
Building a relationship with a horse or dog through training them can be an extremely rewarding and rehabilitating process. The disabled, depressed, and even inmates often feel very fulfilled by building their own relationships with animals, especially with a training goal to work towards.
Love Your Pets
Pets make messes, need to be groomed, can be difficult to administer medicine to, and sometimes are downright just frustrating. However, it’s easy to look past when our pets mess up because they love us with every fiber in their hearts, and do a lot more for our mental and physical well-being than we think.
Allison Barfield is a content writer for Span Enterprises and has been writing since she first learned to hold a pencil, shortly after birth. After graduating from the University of South Carolina in 2013 with a B.A. in media arts she fell in love with marketing. She's been copy writing and managing multiple blogs ever since.