Therapy dogs must be comfortable around all people and other animals. They have to be patient and calm in all situations. These standards would be difficult for most people to meet! So, it’s amazing that therapy dogs are able to happily endure these sometimes challenging requirements.
Hospitals, homeless shelters, schools, rehabilitation centers, correctional facilities, nursing homes and so many other institutions are places that therapy dogs visit to provide the special love and attention that so many different people need. Their gentle presence softens hearts, provokes smiles and bursts of laughter or can help a patient feel better. They don’t judge. They aren’t there to give an injection. They simply provide unbiased, caring attention that anyone going through difficult or stressful situations needs.
There are so many different tasks therapy dogs perform. Those visiting college campuses help students de-stress. They may perform tricks in order to entertain their audience. Sometimes they will listen to a child read, to an elderly person reminisce, or to a patient undergoing psychological treatment. Therapy dogs have even been invited into emergency rooms to calm the patients and staff before surgery. Thus, their presence alone is helpful! Allowing someone to pet them is probably their most important job. Petting dogs is known to help people open up after a traumatic event such as a school shooting. People are comforted after natural disasters by petting therapy dogs. Why is this? Petting dogs reduces stress hormone levels, lowers blood pressure, regulates breathing and improves overall temperament.
These are only a few reasons therapy dogs rock. They provide unconditional love that makes any situation more bearable. The love and affection these dogs give helps save lives, improve lives and provide comfort. They love everyone. Do you know someone who could use that kind of love today?