Dogs are man’s best friend. Always loyal and ever loving, this trait has made canines an integral and common part of what is fast becoming a common mode of therapy in many health care facilities. Not just dogs but animals in general have long been recognized as having a positive effect on the healing process. Dogs, especially, have a calming effect.
These dogs help people cope with emotional issues, offer physical contact, invoke pleasant memories and they divert a person’s focus from the problems of the day. That’s why they’ve been used to great success as helpers for those people who are in therapy. Dogs are specially trained for their jobs of helping to take care of the sick, the elderly or the infirm.
Currently there are three types of therapy dogs:
a) Facility Therapy Dogs
b) Animal-Assisted Therapy Dogs
c) Therapeutic Visitation Dogs
The first two types assist physical therapists by meeting the requirements for a person’s recovery. They are usually found in hospitals and are permanently assigned there. The most common type of therapeutic dog, however, is the third type.
Therapeutic visitation dogs are ordinary pets whose owners take to hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities. These dogs help people who are away from home due to mental or physical illness. These people are usually in a highly stressful or depressing environment and a visit from a therapy dog can always brighten their day and help them deal with their problems.
Through their bright example, these dogs help the people they meet maintain a positive attitude. This positive outlook is important in good health, happiness and staying young. Pets also provide a chance for patients to touch and be touched. This gives the patients a chance to express their need for physical contact, a need that doctors have proven as a very important factor in a patient’s psychological health.
This is integral in helping people maintain a better mental standing on their condition. This and the ever-loving nature of dogs make them perfect cures to depression that often plagues many patients and residents of nursing homes and hospitals.
It’s very difficult to accurately measure how positive an effect these dogs have on patients. But all you have to do to see that they’re doing their job is a happy smile on a patient’s face when they’re in the company of one of these amazing healing hounds.