Ann Arbor Animal Hospital | Geraldine Markel, PhD

Kipu with a patient

We came across this great post by Ann Arbor’s Geri Markel, entitled “Therapy Dogs, A Positive Distraction.”

In the piece, she writes about how therapy animals reduce stress, provide emotional support, and interact with patients, bringing a smile to their faces, as well as benefiting the atmosphere of care facilities.

According to Therapy Dogs International, there were approximately 18,000 Therapy Dogs registered in 2007. These dogs are employed in many other settings. For example, in addition to providing a positive distraction to those in need, dogs have been trained to relax near children while they are reading. This provides a non-judgmental companion who enhances the learning situation and helps excite the children to read.

Another use of therapy dogs is shown on YouTube where a young boy with Autism improves in his interaction skills over a 15 month period. The title of the presentation is Effects of Animal-Assisted Therapy on Autism.

It would appear that most therapy dog owners have the patience, desire, and time needed to care for their dogs and to visit particular facilities such as a veteran’s hospital, nursing home, or community center at least once per week. Many retired persons find that owning a therapy dog provides a part-time opportunity during which they can volunteer their services to the community. If you have a loving, calm, and friendly dog or if you know someone who might consider being part of the therapy dog world, then contact one of the following organizations:

We’ll be featuring a series about the lives of Therapy Dogs on our blog. Do you have a therapy animal? Drop us a line!

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Ann Arbor Animal Hospital is a locally-owned animal hospital operating for over 90 years in Ann Arbor, MI.