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I love reading stories and information about pets which could help both owners and animals.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Why dogs are important during therapy and rehab !

My mom had a stroke almost 3 weeks ago and is now undergoing rehab. One of the things she keeps asking is "how is Snickers"?  That is her little mini dachshund and she misses her dearly. So because she is in a rehab facility that allows pets, we bring her little doggie when we can.

This got me thinking about how important animals are for therapy.  There are a lot of therapy pets out there but the most important pet to a loved one is their own pet.  But, if the person who is undergoing therapy does not have a pet, having a therapy pet stop by may not be a bad thing.

Here is some information on pet therapy dogs if you would like to use one during a family members' rehab.

The information I am sharing with you comes from the following website:  http://www.disabled-world.com/disability/serviceanimals/therapy-dogs.php.  Use this information if you need to find therapy dogs in your area.

The Value of Therapy Dog Visits:
Therapy Dog and Handler teams are all unique and provide people with exceptional opportunities for therapeutic contact. Only dogs that are registered with an organization are considered to be Therapy Dogs. Coyotes, Wolves, coyote hybrids, or wolf hybrids are not permitted to become Therapy Dogs becomes they cannot be verified as immune against rabies.

Therapy Dogs are not required to know any tricks, although a number of Handlers have taught their Dogs some such as how to wave or shake hands as a way to start conversations with the people they are there to serve; or to make them smile. Routines that teach Dogs obedience may also be used to start conversations, with well-trained Dogs excelling at say, standing still while a person either pets them or brushes them. Each Therapy Dog and Handler team is familiar with their means of interacting with others and provides unique and wonderful therapeutic contact.

Recognition of the value of using animals in the healing process has been around for a very long time. In a variety of types of health care facilities, visits from Therapy Dogs have demonstrated an increase in the calmness, happiness, and overall emotional well-being of people who have come in contact with them. Studies have been pursued that have demonstrated a decrease in both the stress levels and blood pressure of people during visits by Therapy Dogs. These Dogs give residents, staff members, and visitors a break from regular daily routines, loneliness, and illness.

What is the Definition of Pet Therapy Activities?
Therapy Dogs and their Handlers visit schools, nursing homes, libraries, hospitals, and other facilities where people would benefit from interactions with the Dogs. During a visit with a Therapy Dog, people are invited to interact with the Dog through petting them or stroking them. Some people might want to brush the dog, while other people may simply wish to look at it.

Smaller Dogs may be ones that people can hold in bed or on their laps, with permission. Other Therapy Dogs perform simple tricks; others might perform obedience routines for the pleasure of the person they are there to serve. Some people like to walk or use their wheelchair or adaptive equipment next to the Dog. Handlers might throw a toy for the Dog to fetch, or play games with the Dog and the person to enhance the therapeutic contact. The presence of the Dog helps people to take their minds off of problems.

Do Therapy Dogs Wear Vests?
While some Therapy Dogs do wear vests identifying them, many of these Dogs do not. Some Therapy Dogs wear vests while they are hallways; for example, but take them off in rooms while they interact with people.

Therapy Dogs are Dogs that are meant to be petted and a vest can cut down on the area of the Dog's coat that is exposed.

Therapy Dogs might also wear a Bandanna identifying them as a Dog used for therapeutic purposes, or an identification tag. They may have a flat buckle collar, or a form of simple harness. A Therapy Dog Handler might carry an identification card for the Dog.

From a health safety perspective, Therapy Dogs must have a checkup with their veterinarian each year, as well as mandatory rabies vaccinations. Each Therapy Dog needs to have received an initial series of Hepatitis, Distemper, and Parvovirus vaccinations as well. They need to have a negative fecal examination each year. All Therapy Dogs must have a negative Heartworm test every year if they are not on a preventative medication. Even if they are on a preventative Heartworm medication, the Dog must have a negative Heartworm test every-other year.

There are a number of organizations that certify Therapy Dogs. Many of these organizations are available on a State-by-State basis. Therapy Dogs are not required to be ADAA certified and provide incredibly valuable services to People with Disabilities, Seniors, Children, and Veterans.

I really wanted to share this information because of my mom and how I could see how seeing her doggie had such a positive affect on her rehab.  I hope this helps you with your family member who may need help !

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