“All pets are therapy pets.
The majority of them are just freelancing”
Pet therapy builds on the pre-existing human-animal bond. Interacting with a friendly pet can help many physical and mental issues. It can help reduce blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health. It can also release endorphins that produce a calming effect. This can help alleviate pain, reduce stress, and improve your overall psychological state.
Therapy animals are socialised and trained to provide comfort and affection to people in different stressful environments. During a medical procedure, you may have less anxiety if a pet is present. In rehabilitation, you may be more motivated to recover and practice therapy when working with a pet. People who have sensory disabilities can sometimes communicate more easily with an animal; this encourages more interaction with other people.
Dogs and cats are most commonly used in pet therapy. However, fish, guinea pigs, horses, and other animals that meet screening criteria can also be fantastic.
Pet therapy uses animals to interact with people for numerous reasons to help improve their quality of life. Studies show that just fifteen minutes spent bonding with an animal promotes hormonal changes within the brain. Stress levels drop as the brain produces serotonin (the “feel-good” hormone), along with prolactin and oxytocin.
This is why therapy animals are good companions, especially for older people, because they offer so many amazing health benefits.
Ted at Llys-y-Seren care home is keeping a watchful eye on the residents. Staff love having Ted around too:
“During a long shift, it’s a nice break to take Ted for a quick walk.
It’s very therapeutic”
Trem-y-Glyn care home has regular visits from a therapy dog every week. Residents always look forward to the dog’s next visit.
Cats in care
Many cats make great therapy animals. They are easy to bring into care homes and can have a very calming presence. The cats can increase individuals’ interactivity with other people and their environment.
Just like three of our Pobl cats, they walk in and out of rooms checking in on all residents and stopping for a quick cwtsh or snooze.
It’s not donkey work
Donkeys might not be the obvious choice of a therapy animal but our residents at Llys-y-Werin care home found out that they are great visitors because of their calm demeanour and love of cuddles.
Donkeys’ visits encourage interaction and conversations between all tenants and day centre users at Llys-y-Werin:
“The response from the individuals was very positive. One gentleman who comes to the day centre, who doesn’t engage greatly, was a little apprehensive at first, however he soon started to smooth the donkey and started to smile. Another person watched and followed the donkey wherever it went continually smiling and pointing towards the donkey.”