Benefits of Therapy Dogs

Therapy Dogs

Therapy Dogs

For those of you who know me, I can imagine you are thinking “of course she would write an article like this”….

But really.

I’ve heard from many parents that there are therapy dogs that visit the schools on occasion and how wonderful of an experience it is for their children. While many may think that I just wanted to bring Chance to work with me everyday, you are right…BUT the reasoning goes much deeper than just having him as my employee ;). Growing up, I have always been a dog person and we always had a family dog. At any period in my life, whether it was stress, grief, joy, etc. I can remember the connection I shared with my pet at the time. Its been shown through plenty of research over many years that dogs can reduce stress. The human-animal bond can impact people and animals in so many positive ways.

We have seen the benefits first hand in the clinic on a daily basis. I knew Chance would facilitate the progress of my clients and improve their experience by taking a seemingly stressful situation and making it less overwhelming. The use of our specialized equipment can be scary for ANY child that comes in for the first few times. They are being put into positions they normally don’t have the opportunity for; They are feeling independence in a new way and trying brand new activities that are hard for them. Of course they’ll be nervous, frustrated, and overwhelmed, but the response we have seen towards having Chance involved in the sessions has made an amazingly positive impact on their outcomes!

Therapy dogs can also be used for animal assisted therapy which has even further benefits. Animal assisted therapy aims to improve social, cognitive, and emotional functioning. Sometimes just having a friendly pup around can make everything just seem less intimidating.

There is even research and evidence that proves the use of therapy dogs in schools has a positive impact. Things like:

  • Increasing attendance
  • Gains in confidence
  • Decreased anxiety behaviors
  • Improved motivation
  • Developing loving and trusting relationships

Its no coincidence that therapy dogs are used in places of high stress or emotion like hospitals, universities, and nursing homes. Therapy dogs are even used for therapy in response to traumatic events to help reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Now, we already know I may be biased, but the effect that Chance has had while working with our clients just adds so many extra smiles…especially when giving TREATS is a huge motivator.

Let us know what positive impact YOU have seen with therapy animals and your child, we would love to hear!

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Christine Astarita
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