Because dogs are such kind and loveable creatures, they are often used in various type of therapy in order to help those who have met with unfortunate circumstances. A therapy dog can bring great relief to adults and kids alike just by their simple presence and contact. Even if they don’t do anything but allow an individual to pet them they can be a great source of comfort.
Therapy dogs are utilized in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, therapy centers, and even taken to disaster areas. The underlying qualification to be a therapy dog relies upon the dog’s individual personality and temperament. The dog must be calm, patient, and gentle. They need to enjoy human contact and allow themselves to be petted and hugged by total strangers. Therapy dogs come from many different breeds but golden retrievers are among the most common due to their gentle dispositions.
Therapy dogs are not the same as service dogs. They have not necessarily been trained to perform any specific function other than to provide comfort. They are not given the same legal rights as service dogs and therefore are not automatically allowed access to places where animals are normally prohibited. Institutions that do allow them in general have requirements and stipulations that must be met before they are allowed entry.
The requirements might include certifications of health and vaccinations from a veterinarian and accreditation from an organization that tests the behavior of therapy dogs. The dogs may have to pass tests that show they can withstand sudden movements and noises and are not spooked by unusual equipment like canes and wheelchairs.
Some nursing homes might have a live-in therapy dog but usually a therapy dog is brought in on a set schedule to visit the residents. The dog may do a few simple tricks for entertainment but his main job is to simply visit with the residents and let them touch him and take joy in his presence.
Oftentimes, therapy dogs and their owners are simply volunteers using their own means and time to bring joy to shut-ins or the disabled. These dogs might even do more than simply brighten someone’s day. Companionship with animals has also been linked to decreasing depression, lowering blood pressure, and reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Working with therapy dogs may also help patients improve their wheelchair maneuverability skills and fine motor skills, they could even help strengthen balance. In addition to helping alleviate depression, therapy dogs help to reduce anxiety and loneliness, increase attention and interaction, and develop an interest in group recreation. They may also help children with developmental disabilities increase vocabulary, and learn more about concepts like size and color.
Therapy dogs have an important place in nursing homes providing companionship for the elderly and in hospitals bringing joy to the sick and injured. They are also an important aspect of treating childhood disabilities like developmental delays, mental disorders, healing from trauma, and autism.
Therapy dogs prove to us just how powerful the bond between mankind and dogs actually is. Dogs can reach us in ways another human cannot and because of that they bring comfort and joy where it is needed most.
By Bergadder from Pixabay