Hobo and Rosalie, two of my cats, seemed to know I was sick. Usually they are both fairly demanding in wanting my attention. However, when I was sick they both were content to just sit close to me quietly and pa tiently. With Hobo on my lap, and Rosalie right next to me, it was very comforting for me to be able to reach out and pet them. And how soothing it was to hear their steady duet of purring. Even though my cold had not yet improved, I felt improvement in my heart.
Yes, Hobo and Rosalie were my therapy pets without the official title! Normally we think of dogs as giving pet therapy. But more and more, other pets such as cats, rabbits, or birds are also being trained and used to lift people’s spirits.
The Advantages of Pet Therapy
Pet therapy is a way to treat people physically and emotionally aside from doctors or medicine.
Animals don’t judge. They give love no matter what. They’re not afraid of sniffles or bandages. They don’t care if Jimmy is in a wheelchair and can’t walk. They don’t seem to notice that Aunt Julie had a stroke and can’t talk easily. Animals won’t care if grandma repeats the same story to them over and over again. They’re okay with the fact that the old man can’t remember their name. They are even forgiving of any reason why Chris may be wearing prison garb.
Many people in health-care places had been forced to give up their own pets when they left their homes. When a therapy animal comes to visit, it helps them remember the good times they once had with their own pets. It gives them a reason to smile. It also gives them something to talk about later when their human visitors come to see them.
What Makes a Good Therapy Pet
Even though an animal may be the perfect pet at home, it might not be good for pet therapy in other situations. A dog, cat, rabbit, or bird used as a therapy pet needs to like all people, including strangers. It cannot be afraid of people or other animals. It needs to be calm and allow people to touch it. Certainly it needs to be obedient to humans and have good manners.
The amazing, fortunate thing for all of us who have pets is that we can have free pet therapy right in our own home any time we need it!
Article reference: Therapy Dogs International