I'm always happy to see my pets, as I am sure you are. But, when I've been sick or just had a tough day, being around animals makes it all seem so much better. My critters are my natural stress relievers. Just the simple act of petting an animal can be as soothing as a bubble bath, and I'm guessing many of you feel the same. Experts say that animals can lower blood pressure and improve overall health. Animal assisted therapy is based on this premise, and it works! Therapy dogs are becoming an increasingly common sight in hospitals, nursing homes and similar facilities. They patiently sit with people as if they understand the good they are doing. Some therapy dogs are trained to listen to children read - and they genuinely seem to enjoy it.
Therapy dogs are part of a specially trained and tested human/dog therapy team. However, when "off duty," most therapy dogs are simply pets. No special breeding is required to be a therapy dog, just a great temperament and a love for children, adults and other animals. Could your dog be a future therapy dog? Think about how much your dog brightens your day, then consider how nice it would be to share that joy with others through animal assisted therapy. The power of animal assisted therapy never ceases to amaze me.
Have you got an uplifting dog story? Share your tales of canine inspiration! It can be about a therapy dog or anything else that you find touching.
Photo © iStockphoto.com/suemack