Animals have been known to offer humans companionship since ages.
However, more recently, therapy animals have been recognized by medical science for the benefits they provide.
There are endless ways that animals like dogs, cats, and horses offer therapeutic benefits and help people heal from physical as well as psychological ailments. Besides assisting humans in recovering from their disabilities, animals are increasingly being used for support as well. They can help to calm anxiety and help someone regain peace, thus improving the quality of life.
Service dogs are those who have been trained to aide a specific individual with a physical or emotional disability.
Certified therapy dogs belong to people who volunteer their time to help others feel better. Alliance of Therapy Dogs is an organization that tests, certifies, registers, insures and supports these teams as they make visits to help others.
So, let’s delve deep into the world of these amazing therapy animals and understand how they help us find a smile again.
Benefits of Therapy Animals
As the name suggests, therapy animals are those animals that offer some kind of benefit to a person in healing from or improving a mental or physical disorder. While the animal doesn’t directly aid in the recovery process, the therapy team instead offers support to the person during recovery. Dogs, cats, horses, and birds are common healing companions that nurture a sense of well-being to reduce anxiety and depression.
However, among all the therapy animals, dogs top the preference list. You can find therapy dogs at medical facilities, airports, courtrooms, schools, libraries, and many other venues, often wearing ‘I’m Friendly’ or “Please Pet Me’ patches, signifying you can pet them and have some fun to revive your spirits.
Therapeutic dogs and other therapy animals are loved in all parts of the world. – Here are some of the ways they help.
Animals Can Help Through Mental Disorders
Various research has supported the notion that animals offer mental health benefits and help alleviate psychological disorders. Extensive research on pet animals has revealed that they are capable of positively affecting the mental health of those around them and provide them with emotional support when needed.
Most people battling depression and psychological traumas find solace and peace playing with animals or by simply being around them.
Therapy Animals Can Elevate Mood
Animals like dogs are efficient at elevating mood and providing relaxation to humans, making them a perfect companion to hang around. They have proven to be helpful in treating people with anxiety. This is one of the key reasons therapy dogs are among the most common therapy animals.
Studies have shown that looking into the dog’s eyes boosts the production of dopamine and other neurochemicals in our body. These neurochemicals are known as natural antidepressants and effective in promoting calmness. This not only makes one compassionate about others but also makes one less depressed.
They can Help You Fight off Anxiety In Airports
For people suffering from anxiety or trauma, even a short flight journey can be a taxing task.
However, thanks to therapy, plane travels can turn less traumatic for such people. These animals keep a person engaged while they are waiting for their flight; thus, taking off their attention from the anxiety of flying in a plane. They Boost the Recovery Process
Therapy dogs are not a treatment in itself but a part of it. They make the treatment process more effective and often less daunting. The best part about therapy animals is that they can be incorporated into any treatment plan to speed up the healing process.
They Can Help Regulate Emotions
It is not easy for those with a diagnosis or suffering from trauma to keep their feelings and emotions in check. But the companionship offered by therapy dogs can help such individuals fight off emotional breakdowns and keep their minds engaged with happy thoughts.
Research has shown that the presence of a beloved pet or therapy animal can help a person control daily anxiety, regulate emotional arousals, and improve mood. Since therapy dogs are trained to be attentive to a person’s needs and offer unconditional love, they can often stabilize intense emotions.
They Offer Social Support
Owners proudly agree that their pet plays a crucial role in keeping them healthy. A report published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology claims that pet animals offer well-being benefits to their owners. Pet animals are also known to improve the immune system, endocrine, and cardiovascular functioning, and regulating blood pressure.
Sometimes people find it hard to get the love and support that they need from fellow humans. For such individuals, therapy dogs, can be a good option to provide love, support, and help them feel connected. A therapy animal provides an easy topic of conversation to assist in forming human connections and building relationships.
In times when 18% of adults in the United States are falling under the grip of depression and anxiety, therapy dogs can play a crucial role in alleviating anxiety. The support and companionship offered by such animals are incomparable. Besides the support they offer, they have significant mental health benefits. From managing psychological health symptoms to controlling depression and PTSD, dogs and other therapy animals can help us with an array of medical conditions.
Given the plethora of health benefits offered by animals, medical institutes and health professionals have started including animal services.
Alliance of Therapy Dogs is one such organization that is committed to helping dog owners certified therapy dog teams. They provide training, testing, certification, insurance, and ongoing support services to those willing to volunteer with their dogs to visit hospitals, special needs centers, nursing homes, airports, schools, libraries, courtrooms, and other facilities. To know more about Alliance of Therapy Dogs, contact here.