The Therapy Animal Program demonstrates that positive human-animal interactions improve the physical, emotional and psychological lives of those we serve. Our nearly 11,000 volunteers throughout all 50 states share their time and the love of their animal through animal-assisted interactions.
Animal-assisted activities provide opportunities for motivational, educational and/or recreational benefits to enhance quality of life. This may mean social interactions with those recuperating in the hospital, visits to retirement homes or even stress relief events on college campuses.
Animal-assisted therapy is when a therapy animal team is overseen by a professional health provider and incorporated as part of a goal oriented and structured therapeutic intervention. This may mean working with a physical therapist where the client practices brushing a dog for strength building exercises or partnering with an occupational therapist where the task of attaching a secondary leash to an animal is an activity to work on fine motor skills.
Regardless of where you may choose to volunteer as a therapy animal team, the benefits to recipients of visits are indisputable and the body of supporting research grows daily. Interactions with animals have been shown to decrease the perception of pain, lower blood pressure, promote care compliance, and minimize anxiety.
If you’d like to give back to your community, consider becoming involved with the Therapy Animal Program.