Discover the benefits of Pet Therapy
The benefits of pets are equal parts science and magic. Our Pet Therapy programme within our Healthcare Centres has grown recently, with more and more pets and their owners joining. We’ve been discovering firsthand the powerful effect that therapy dogs can have.
Just one visit a week from a therapy dog can trigger the release of the chemicals responsible for activating happiness, including Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins. These aid in relieving stress, helping to calm anxiety and combat depression.
It’s easy for residents to become discouraged, often due to loss of abilities like hearing, memory or mobility. Therapy dogs are the perfect antidote to low self-esteem as they love unconditionally. Pets are incapable of judgement and unbiased affection is their default setting. It’s no wonder that visits from pets serve as welcome reminders to residents that, no matter what, they are loved and accepted.
Interacting with pets provides entertainment, inspires humour and helps residents concentrate on the present. It’s not unusual for residents in long-term facilities to dwell too much on themselves, often because of loneliness or pain. A visit from a pet can provide a welcome distraction and a new topic of conversation.
In our opinion, the most wonderful therapeutic benefit is the stimulation of long-term memories. Residents are enjoying being reminded of the past and the pets from their past that are gone but never forgotten.
Meet Buks. He’s a certified Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog who visits the residents of Onrus Manor Healthcare. He connects with them by doing tricks and letting them pet and stroke him. Faces light up when he trots in with his trademark yellow bandana. It’s always wonderful to see the difference a few minutes with Buks makes.
Meet Chloe. She visits Heritage Manor Healthcare every Tuesday afternoon. She’s passed her Canine Good Citizen Bronze, Silver and Gold exams and is a fully qualified and PAT-approved therapy dog. Welcome, Chloe!