I believe that many are! Our dog Toby was a pet assisted therapy dog through a local organization, http://www.chimoproject.ca/chimo/, for over four years. He volunteered every Wednesday with patients at Alberta Hospital Edmonton. Wednesdays were clearly the highlight of Toby’s week, and also for many of the patients he worked with.
Some of the impacts we observed with patients included:
- Increased desire and willingness to socialize with other patients and staff, and of course Toby and I
- A general improvement in the mood of the patients
- Patients overcoming their fear of dogs through building a relationship and trust with Toby
- An increase in physical activity as patients would go for walks because Toby needed a walk or outdoor break
- An interest in caring for Toby (made him dog treats, helped with brushing him on visits, and made him birthday and anniversary cards.
- Reduction in stress and anxiety
Toby in many ways was a stress relief and a healer for those he met.
There are also dogs (and other animals) that volunteer in reading and literacy programs, group homes, counseling programs, seniors’ facilities to name a few. Animals have the ability to provide love, comfort, joy and unconditional love which can deeply impact a person’s healing and wellness.
To hear me talk about this, listen to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/consciousdiscussions/2012/04/08/dog-rescue-therapy-dogs
and watch Toby at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0eEpYp0UjE&feature=g-all-u&context=G234743dFAAAAAAAASAA as CHIMO staff Danielle talks about Toby and his job.
Good books are for sharing- you can read about Toby’s pet assisted therapy in his books: To buy a copy of On Toby’s Terms, visit