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The effects of pet therapy

By Mavis Brown

Pet therapy is a vast term that includes animal-assisted therapy and other animal-assisted activities. Animal-assisted therapy is a progressing field that uses dogs or other animals to help people recover from or better cope with health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and mental health disorders. Animal-assisted activities, on the other hand, have a more general purpose, such as providing comfort and enjoyment for nursing home occupants.

Imagine you’re in the hospital, your doctor says something about the hospital’s animal-assisted therapy program and wonders if you’d be interested. You say yes, so your doctor sets up for someone to come and talk to you about the program. Soon after that, an assistance dog and its handler visit your hospital room and stay for 10 or 15 minutes. You’re told you can pet the dog and ask the handler questions. After the visit, you realize you’re smiling. And you feel a little less tired and somewhat more happy. You can’t wait to tell your family all about that sweet dog. Actually, you’re already looking forward to the dog’s next visit.


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