If you have been reading my blog, you probably know by now how much I love animals. Animals of all kinds are fabulous, but dogs have a special place in my heart. As much as dogs make an excellent household pet, they can provide comfort and joy in a more official capacity as a therapy dog. Different than service dogs, which help individuals perform tasks they cannot do for themselves because of a disability, therapy dogs travel to facilities such as hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, and schools to provide comfort, companionship and relieve stress.
News of the positive effects of therapy dogs is spreading: especially in health care. Some hospitals have even implemented therapy dog programs as part of their patient experience initiatives. Benefits of interacting with a therapy dog include: lower blood pressure, improved cardiovascular health, the release of calming endorphins (oxytocin) and more. A therapy dog can be trained to do anything from comforting an older individual in a nursing home, to aiding a college student in relieving stress during final exams, to cheering up a child in a hospital wing.
If you’re interested in registering your dog as a therapy dog, or just want to learn more about the benefits of therapy dogs, visit the American Kennel Club for more information!
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