If you’re an animal lover, you have probably been hearing about how therapy cats and dogs are helping more and more people deal with stressful situations. Most common uses of therapy animals are in hospitals. Handlers bring their animals into hospitals to see patients who are dealing with stress and anxiety. These pets are trained to provide therapeutic support that help calm people and bring some cheer to their day.
Besides hospitals, therapy animals are often used in nursing homes, disaster areas, schools, and with people who have learning disabilities. I recently read an article about a therapy dog that often visits funeral homes helping people deal with the grief of losing a loved one. The main goal of these animals is to help brighten the day of people who may need a lift. Studies have shown that reducing stress is extremely important to maintaining good health. These animals always seem to bring a smile to faces of the people they interact with and that alone is so important.
While dogs are the most common therapy animals, other registered therapy animals include: cats, rabbits, and other species that have demonstrated that they like people. Animals with a good temperament are the best therapy animals.
While it is important that the therapy animal is trained and has the proper temperament, equally important is the animal handler. This person must be responsible and caring so that both the needs of the animals and the patients are being met. Therapy animals are privately owned so be sure to check references and meet with the animals and handlers prior to scheduling a visit. Check online for reputable companies in your area and see if a therapy animal can help you or a loved one.