Meet Pippin, our canine therapy dog! He is a miniature schnauzer that is an active part of our therapy practice. Currently Pippin divides his time between visits to our office, training and relaxing at home like any regular dog. His favorite activities include fetching toys, sleeping and did I mention playing fetch?!
Penny is a rescued Dachshund that we found her running a frontage road in 104 degree heat a few years ago. After an unsuccessful, but extensive search for her owners, she was adopted into our home. She arrived with fleas and Stage 3 Heartworms, but after a lengthy treatment series for the Heartworms, she was cleared. She an adorable gal that loves to shread and gut stuffed animals, is always open to a walk or car ride, but will spend endless hours snuggled in your lap or under a blanket.
What is Canine-Assisted Therapy?
Canine-assisted therapy uses dogs to promote health and healing. As many of us know from personal experience, dogs are accepting, comforting and non-judgmental, making them ideal therapy companions. This form of therapy began being used in the mid 1970’s in a variety of clinical settings and was found to be effective for people of all ages and emotional issues.
Dogs often mirror our feelings, as such; canine therapy can help teach people to manage their emotions. The calmer we are, the more agreeable the dog becomes. Learning to be more self-aware and in touch with our feelings can be very healing. Children and teens respond particularly well to canine therapy, developing trust and strong bonds with the animals. Many find it easier to open up and talk when the focus is on the dog.
In canine therapy, clients may:
- Learn to give a dog commands
- Walk and play with a dog
- Pet and snuggle a dog
Following these tasks, the therapist processes the experience with the client, gaining insights into their feelings about the experience as well as the way the lessons learned can apply to other situations.
What are the benefits of Canine-Assisted Therapy?
Research suggests that interacting with and caring for a dog has many therapeutic benefits, including:
- Decreased stress
- Increased physical activity
- Relief from anxiety and depression
- Increased focus and attention through hands-on interaction
- Learning the appropriate way to treat themselves and others
- Unconditional love, affection and nurturing
- Increased self-esteem
- Reduced blood pressure
- Elevated mood
- Reduced loneliness and enhanced sense of purpose
- Setting and respecting boundaries
Stay tuned for updates on Pippin and Penny’s adventures!