Therapy dogs are frequently used to provide comfort to those suffering from mental and physical illnesses. They have been known to help improve symptoms associated with dementia, ADHD, autism, PTSD, reduce social anxiety and increase group participation - to name a few. Their positive benefits have been recognized for centuries, long before any research was available to explain why.
What may come as a surprise to many, is how far this concept dates back. The earliest recording of animals for therapeutic use is from 600 BC, Greece. They illustrate the use of horses to provide comfort to the gravely ill. There are countless instances throughout history of animals exhibiting positive impacts on recovering patients, but this notion never gained traction among healthcare professionals. Most primary research on the use of therapy animals began in the 1960s and finally gained global notoriety in the 1990s, resulting in widespread acceptance in a variety of sectors.
Despite horses and dogs being most commonly used in today’s practices, nearly any pet can act as a therapy aid, including lizards, pigs or llamas. The recruitment of one therapy dog alone can positively impact roughly 150 people each year. St. John Ambulance boasts 205 therapy dog teams across Manitoba and Yellowknife, reaching over 30,000 people in just one year (St. John Ambulance, 2021).
Therapy dogs provide such a broad range of benefits, that they often receive targeted training to cater to the needs of specific groups of people. Some dogs specialize in providing comfort after disasters, some that primarily live in nursing homes and others assist youth with special learning requirements or who are learning to read. Multiple programs utilize therapy dogs and see amazing progress in participants as a result. During a therapy dog’s training, they are evaluated to ensure they can stay calm in crowds and being pet by multiple people. As opposed to service dogs, they receive training to assist a single individual and are not allowed to be touched when working.
The advantages that therapy dogs have on our physical and mental well-being are undeniable. Even throughout 2020, St. John Ambulance didn’t miss a beat when it came to organizing their therapy dog connections. Instead of calling it quits while restrictions were in place, they adapted to the challenging circumstances, using video calls and adhering to social distancing practices instead of up-close visits. St. John Ambulance embodies the resilience and compassion we need in our community. They continued to serve the community throughout the pandemic, demonstrating true perseverance when we needed it the most. Their actions represent what we value here at Precision Chemical, so it was an easy decision to contribute to their cause.
St. John Ambulance needs your support now more than ever. To support this local cause, Precision Chemical is donating a portion of proceeds from every limited-edition 12 oz bottle of hand sanitizer, towards 15 CPR training mannequins. Click the link below to get involved and remember to choose everyday products with a purpose.
Sources: healthcarebusinesstoday.com, sja.ca