The human-animal relationship is undeniably very strong. More and more people are realizing that animals have a positive effect on our lives. After all, dogs have proven their value as guardians, hunters, work assistants, rescuers, companions and as healers.
For several years now the medical community has recognized what animal guardians have always known.
Pets are good for health.
Therapy animals participate in programs aimed at improving human health and psychology. Therapy dogs are what the phrase itself suggests: an alternative (or even complementary) treatment by or through animals to improve the quality of human life.
Contact with animals has a particularly positive effect on people who belong to the so-called socially vulnerable groups. Whether it is for children and adults with disabilities, for those suffering from chronic or incurable diseases, for the mentally ill, for ex-addicts or for the elderly, contact with animals can bring satisfaction and joy. Even more evident is the effect that this contact has on those who live permanently in institutions of any kind, since this contact brings them closer to the world outside the institution and one step closer to nature.
Therapeutic contact with animals can provide social companionship and joy that no one else can. Animals provide us with companionship and unconditional love, encouragement for activity, they provide us with “an ear” to listen, they don’t judge us, and most importantly, they give us reasons to smile.
- Therapeutic contact with animals improves social skills, increases self-esteem and sense of responsibility, reduces depression, anxiety and finally offers calmness and a sense of security.
- Studies have shown that dogs help, in addition to the people who need the treatment, the staff of the places they visit as well as the families of the people doing the treatment.