Saturday, October 26, 2013

Therapy is For the Dogs

They [dogs] don't judge us...When no one else will listen to you, your dog will listen to you.~ Dr. Randolph Barker, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business
Never underestimate the power of a furry friend.  Studies have shown that having a hands on relationship with a four-legged friend can reduce stress and depression, among many other health benefits.  The bonds that can develop (almost instantly) between a human and dog can be more powerful than many expect.

Studies going back to the early 1980s support the idea that dogs—and other pets—have enormous health benefits for people. Pets have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve recovery from heart disease, and even reduce rates of asthma and allergy in children who grow up with a Fido or a Frisky in the house. Pets also improve people’s psychological well-being and self-esteem. - Harvard Health
Many workplaces have seen the benefits of including a cat or dog in their office.  They have seen productivity and general stress decrease compared to not having Fido roam the halls.  I'm wondering if the same could be said for having a dog available to classrooms and therapy offices.  Could a child with a difficult time reading perform better when petting a calm dog laying next to them?  Could a student with test anxiety focus more if a dog were leaning up to their leg during the exam.  Would it be beneficial to have a cat roaming an Occupational Therapy office to greet for any anxious patients?

Does your school or office have service/therapy dogs or other animals?  Would you be open to a service dog coming into your classroom for 'therapy' once a week?  Why or why not?

Leslie has grown up with dogs.  She can't imagine a life without her furry friends. 

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