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Animals & Therapy

Volunteer with Your Pet or Benefit from a Visit

Therapy animals are typically pets who with their handler visit people in hospitals, assisted-living / nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, hospice care and many other places where people can benefit from the ‘healing powers’ of pets at a time when they can’t have their own pet with them. Their visits provide joy, comfort and motivation to those with whom they interact. Their visits result in:

  • vital signs on monitors moving to healthier levels
  • patients reporting that their pain lessens
  • frowns turning into smiles
  • people who have been non-communicative start talking again and re-engage with others
  • patients who haven’t been able to summon the energy to get out of bed
  • welcome an invitation to walk a dog down the corridor, and much more.

Some therapy animals also help children at schools and libraries learn to read as well as stroke victims practice there verbal skills, simply by being a calming and non-judgmental audience.

Delta Society began their therapy animal program (Pet Partners®) in 1990. Today, there are over 10,000 Pet Partners teams (handlers with their pets) representing all 50 U.S. states and 13 other countries. We register handlers with dogs, cats, rabbits, mini-horses, guinea pigs, birds and other domesticated species.

The three most common ways people benefit from therapy animal programs are noted below.

  1. Become a Volunteer with your Pet: People of all ages (10 – 90+) are active Pet Partners volunteers. It’s a great way to give new meaning to your life – while sharing your special pet with others! If you have a pet that likes to be with people, is comfortable in different environments, and has basic obedience skills, you may want to consider taking your pet to visit others in need in your community. Pet Partners can volunteer as little as 1 hour a month or several hours each week. To learn more about what it takes to become registered with Delta Society as a Pet Partner, click here.
  2. Healthcare / Caregiver Professionals – integrate Pet Partners into your program offerings: More and more professionals are realizing the benefits of therapy animals in their patient/client care. Doctors and nurses have seen how therapy animal visits have positively affected their patients by helping them come out of comas, needing less pain medication, and serving as distractions while they complete ‘unpleasant’ procedures. Caregivers in assisted-living / nursing homes have recognized that often therapy animal visits may be the only visitors for some residents and that people who haven’t talked since they moved in suddenly begin conversing as the animal, with their handler next to them, serves as a ‘bridge’ between human communication. Hospice care workers have commented that the presence of an animal can be the impetus for a person to finally share their fears which enables them to better understand their client’s feelings and needs. To learn how you can begin a program, click here.
  3. Benefit from a Visit: If you are hospitalized, reside in an assisted-living center / nursing home, or are doing physical therapy ask if they offer therapy animal visits. You just may be surprised how good even a short visit can make you feel.
  4. To learn more about the therapeutic benefits of therapy animals, watch Delta Society’s Moment by Moment video and visit our website: www.deltasociety.org.