Meet Norman, Our Therapy Dog
Spending time with animals produces marked improvements in humans, affecting the physical, mental, emotional and social aspects of their well-being.
Stress leads to an overproduction of stress hormones, and in-turn increased blood pressure, heart rate, and chance of heart attack and stroke. As you will see in the list, below, a visit with a therapy animal does much to reverse the effects of stress.
Visiting with an animal can reduce anxiety without the need for medication, or elicit positive reminiscing in clients with progressed dementia. Therapy animal teams frequently witness measurable improvements as well, for example in visiting with chemotherapy patients in order to lower their blood pressure to a level acceptable for treatment.
Here are just some of the healing effects of therapy animal visits:
- Decrease in stress and anxiety, including that from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Decrease in depression, loneliness and feelings of isolation
- Decrease in aggressive behaviors
- Increase in socialization with an outward focus, including opportunities for laughter and a sense of happiness and well-being
- Increase in mental stimulation, attention skills, and verbal interactions
- Increase in spirit, self-esteem, and feeling of acceptance, enabling a patient to further participate in mental and physical therapy, to be more involved in group activities, and to accept social and emotional support
- Decrease in blood pressure
- Decrease in heart rate
- Decrease in the stress hormone cortisol
- Increase in hormones associated with health and a feeling of well-being, including beta-endorphin, beta-phenylethylamine, dopamine, oxytocin, prolactin and serotonin
- Increase in level of fitness by providing stimulus for exercise, with improvement in activities in which they were limited
- Improvement in fine motor skills, standing balance, wheelchair and other physical skills
We will share pictures of Norman as he grows!