The Benefits of Having a Therapy Animal

Animal therapy is a growing field that allows dogs and other animals help people with various health issues Photo by Harry Wyman | The Signal

When you are out in public you may have a chance encounter with a dog in a harness that states ‘Service Dog’. A service dog has a specific purpose in this setting, to make sure that their owner is okay at all times. These animals are trained from when they are puppies to make sure they can be a helpful tool to help people do their day-to-day lives.

A therapy dog is similar to a service dog, but therapy dogs are trained to help people with mental health issues. According to Paws for People, a therapy dog can be useful for more reasons in addition to just for mental health issues. A therapy animal can: lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, release endorphins, reduce physical pain, and petting an animal has been proven to have an automatic relaxation effect on a person.

Various people have a therapy animal due to having a type of mental disorder like PTSD or a form of anxiety. Animal therapy can help the person develop healthier coping mechanisms for their mental problems. For people who suffer from mental health issues, animal therapy can: lessen depression, decrease the feeling of isolation, encourage communication, provide the person’s comfort, increase socialization, and give the person a sense of community.

By caring for an animal, a person can gain a sense of purpose in their own life. This gives the person who is in need of a sense of belonging and more structured life with the therapy animal.

People who suffer from PTSD and other mental illnesses go through a lot of anxiety especially when they encounter a certain situation that is related to how they got PTSD. By having a therapy animal at their side, they can deal with it in a healthier fashion.

Another great thing about animal therapy is having support when you are in college. College-life is hard due to the constant pressures of assignments and grades. Everything is expected to be perfect, otherwise you are seen as wasting your money that semester. It can put a person through stress, depression, and anxiety while you are going through this much hardship. It is better to feel like you are not alone in school.

Therapy animals in college can help students get through the pressures of college-life, by having them around they can make you feel less alone. A therapy animal does not even have to be licensed in college. If a cat you rescued from the shelter gives you bliss, that cat can be your therapy animal. There are different types of ways to view therapy animals whether it is a licensed one where you see at the hospitals cheering up patients or a rescued animal that reminds you, that you got this and will love you through it all.