Pet Therapy Programs Provide Smiles for Everyone Involved

Studies have proven that direct contact with animals has therapeutic qualities.  Individuals that are disabled, ill, lonely, and depressed have responded positively to visits by their canine and feline friends.  Daycares, hospitals and senior care facilities have incorporated programs into their schedules that involve pet therapy or animal assisted therapy.

Essentially, these programs were created in an attempt to achieve two things. One, pet therapy helps people physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively.  Two, the programs take animals out of their comfort zones and get them acquainted with other human beings.  After going through special training, select animals are then brought into various healthcare settings where they can serve the greatest good.

In addition to providing unconditional love and companionship, animals have been known to:

  • Decrease heart rate and lower blood pressure
  • Teach people how to empathize with other living creatures
  • Promote nurturing
  • Take the focus away from a person's problems or illness
  • Provide stimulation - physically and mentally
  • Give a person something to look forward to
  • Encourage people to interact with others socially
  • Provide entertainment for the duration of their visit

Due to their calming effect and notable influence on a person's mental health and physical well-being, pet therapy animals are in high demand.  The Delta Society offers advice, classes, and instructional materials to anyone who is interested in incorporating animal assisted therapy into their practices or workplaces.  The organization also offers a Pet Partners Program which screens and provides training to volunteers that are interested in participating in pet therapy programs across the country.  Focusing their energy on "both ends of the leash," the Delta Society helps people and animals to be successful participants in settings that involve children, the disabled, and the elderly.

Partnering up with the ASPCA, the Delta Society encourages newly adopted animal participation in their pet therapy programs.  Giving shelter dogs and cats a new lease on life, owners can continue to foster goodwill by honing in on their new pet's therapeutic qualities and sharing them with the people who would benefit the most from spending time with the animal.