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"Visiting Pets" "Therapy Dogs" "Therapy Pets" are just some of the names given to describe programs in which animals help people just by visiting with them.

Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) - The most clinical of the interaction, AAT is defined as a goal directed intervention in which an animal meeting specific criteria is an integral part of a structured treatment process. AAT is delivered or directed by a professional, has specific objectives for each client involved and is documented and evaluated. It promotes improvement in human physical, social, emotional or cognitive functioning and its results are measured. For example, walking with a dog for a specified time daily may be incorporated into a physical therapy program resulting in the client increasing the distance walking unaided from 25 meters to 100 meters in three minutes.

Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) - There are many opportunities for both professional and volunteer involvement in AAA. Enhancing quality of life is the general goal in AAA programs and its results are certainly therapeutic in nature but there are no written objectives for individual clients. The possibilities for AAA include educational programs for all ages, self-expression in literary or visual arts using animals as motivation or inspiration and craft projects ranging from birdhouses to dog blankets.

Pet Visitation - This last category includes the unintentional unstructured visits that take place in the halls, the walk-about style of visit that is often not much more than a pat on the head and the exchange of polite greeting and a good-bye. Not to be dismissed, these interactions are still very memorable, very enjoyable and very important especially to those people living in continuing care facilities in our communities.


Pets lend a touch of graciousness to all our lives because they bring out our kindness and most generous impulses. Almost without even thinking we start touching and loving a pet. We talk to them and tell them our worries and our problems. their reply is to give us unquestioned devotion and love. Is it any wonder we love them?

The benefits of interaction with pets are many.
Visits with therapy pets encourage reminiscence and social interaction and result in stress relief and incidental physiotherapy.

Medical studies suggest that blood pressure may be lowered and hospital stays shortened when patients have access to pets.

Often, a visit with a pet can be the high point in a shut-in's day, bringing happiness and a sense of well-being.


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