The magical bond between humans and animals has existed for millennia. Animals have played an integral part in our history as a source of food, clothing and survival. Some evolved into sources of protection, companionship and elevated in status to that of family or friend. Communication between humans and animals occurs on a deeper, more primitive level than the spoken word. Animals force us to become self-aware in regards to things such as our tone, body language and the 95-percent of communication which is non-verbal.
Therapy through animals can assist in emotional and physical healing. Pet therapy is a structured and goal oriented interaction between people and specially trained animals. According to the American Veterinary Association (2013), pet therapy can help improve human physical, emotional, social and cognitive function. Let’s take a closer look…
1. Who Benefits from Pet Therapy?
Pet therapy can be useful in treating patients with depression, anxiety, panic disorder or social phobias. Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can benefit from this type of therapy. Patients hospitalized with cancer, heart failure, chronic illness, strokes or brain injuries have been helped with pet therapy.
In addition long term care residents, children requiring physical or dental procedures, victims of abuse and domestic violence, and even convicts have made significant progress in their mental and physical health when pet therapy was initiated.