Have you ever wondered what a therapy dog does?
Meet Lucy, an Irish setter who now serves as a therapy dog for Arizona nursing school students. At eight weeks old, Lucy was adopted by Dr. Jennifer Bonilla, where she was then placed in a canine therapy program at the age of one.
What is a therapy dog?
According to the American Kennel Club, therapy dogs are considered dogs that travel with their owners to volunteer in different settings such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. From working with a child learning to read to visiting an elderly person in assisted living; therapy dogs and their owners work as a team to improve the lives of others.
How do they help?
You may have seen or heard of therapy dogs, but have you ever wondered what they do to help people? Research has the answer.
“For decades, research has been conducted on therapy dogs. In general, even for people who have their own pets at home, dogs are known to lower blood pressure and heart rate. said Dr. Bonilla
What types of dogs are eligible?
With the wide variety of dog breeds, it can be difficult to determine which dog is eligible to become a therapy dog. Here is what Dr. Bonilla had to say:
“I think any breed could be a therapy dog, it’s mostly the behavior that’s really important. You are looking for this sweetness, this calm. The ability to train well. »
How does Lucy help students?
With four paws wondering in the halls of Arizona nursing school, Lucy comforts the students in hopes of relieving their stress.
“There have been a number of times where we have had a student who has had a difficult day or is upset due to a personal issue at home and meeting the comforter; meeting with one of our deans. We bring the dog and that helps tremendously.
There are other therapy options that the school offers to its students who are looking for other ways to deal with stress, called “art therapy”. However, Lucy remains the most popular choice for students when it comes to choosing a type of therapy.
“I just know it’s going to be okay because Lucy is there during the stressful part,” said Keene (student).
Want to know more about therapy dogs? Click here.
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