Therapy animals are almost found everywhere in the world and pet owners can enroll theirs for training where such facilities are available. Cats, birds, guinea pigs, pot-bellied pigs, rabbits, horses, dogs, llamas and alpacas can serve this purpose. And rats!
Whatever the breed or species, a therapy animal's most important characteristic is its temperament. They are friendly, gentle and patient, and at ease with strangers.
Therapy animals must enjoy human contact and excessive petting, and can be comfortable around healthcare equipment. Therapy animals that are normally trained, such as dogs and horses, must have mastered basic obedience.
These therapy animals are best known for bringing comfort, affection and happiness to people in confined living situations, whether they are in a hospital for a short stay or living in an assisted living home.
But therapy animals also serve in many other capacities, including helping people with learning difficulties, assisting medical professionals in providing mental and physical therapy to their clients, and by bringing comfort to people recovering from crisis.
In all their activities, therapy animals provide unconditional acceptance to those they visit.
This cute kitty is reportedly offering free therapeutic services at a university. It’s interesting to see how the ginger kitty brings comfort to lucky university students, without any training whatsoever.
Known as the “Campus cat,” the feline comes to the University of Augsburg every day to help students relax by offering them cuddles.
“Caring about the students is the main goal of the Campus cat besides sleeping, sleeping, sleeping,” Andreas, Campus Cat Secretary was quoted as saying.
“Also the cat walks all around the campus to really see all students from every faculty.
“A lot of students say Campus Cat helps to relax or chill before tests, papers, exams.”
The ginger is always there.
And he has a home, too, and is well cared for! He just really wants to take some pressure off the students’ chests. Good kitty!
The ginger kitty also loves to tan.
HEALING EFFECTS OF THERAPY ANIMALS YOU MIGHT NEED TO KNOW:
Spending time with animals produces marked improvements in humans, affecting the physical, mental, emotional and social aspects of their well-being.
Therapy animal teams frequently witness improvements in their clients, and measurable improvements are witnessed as well. For example, therapy dogs visit 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
In addition, the benefits listed above may result in a decrease in a person’s need for medications.