Animal Assisted Therapy –
is a formal therapeutic procedure that uses a well-trained animal and its trainer in a service environment, mainly in mental health facilities, nursing homes, and hospitals.
That’s a direct quote from the thesis written, presented, and defended last week by a lovely young lady Harley had the pleasure of working with for six months at the Children’s Hospital.
A Senior in a Magnet School who chose to measure and record –
- heart rate
- respiratory rate
- blood pressure
- and pain
– before and after animal intervention.
Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is a type of therapy that involves animals as a form of treatment. The goal of AAT is to improve a patient’s social, emotional, or cognitive functioning. Advocates state that animals can be useful for educational and motivational effectiveness for participants. Source: Wiki
Sarah shadowed Harley (and Lucky) faithfully, recording the the effectiveness of animal assisted therapy in psychological aspects.
I was overwhelmed when Sarah emailed – inviting us to attend her thesis presentation –
The Physical and Psychological Effects of Animal Assisted Therapy on Hospitalized Children
WHEN WE ARRIVED –
Harley was pleasantly surprised to see her again…
It was wonderful to meet her entire family! I’d heard so many great stories about them as she and I walked the halls of the hospital – week after week…
Harley met one of the teachers.
He didn’t have an apple – so he gave her a kiss…
As soon as Harley entered the classroom, he made new friends…
SARAH’S PRINCIPAL FINDINGS? –
Animal Assisted Therapy has positive effects on both physical and psychological health parameters.
- Physical – Successfully lowered the average heart rate, blood pressure, and pain levels.
- Psychological – Patients became calmer, happier, experienced relief from pain, while parents saw excitement in their children enjoying the dog’s presence.
These children aren’t in pain, but they are certainly enjoying a little “pet therapy” in the school hallway…
It was humbling to sit and listen to how others view the work of dogs like Harley in hospitals. He’s such a joy in my life, I cannot help but continue to share him as much as I can.
Lucky and the director of the Pet Therapy program (Al Hoffman) were also there…
I AM GRATEUL –
to Sarah and her family for thinking enough to include us in her special day.
I fought back the tears as I listened to her speak of Harley and the difference he made with those children.
Harley was tickled to Doodle when she presented him with a very special “thank you” gift for all his help…
Sarah will never know the impact “she” has made in my life. Everyday as we step out of that hospital elevator Harley and I will skip through those halls ready to make a difference in a child’s day…
Congratulations Sarah! We’ll never forget you!
To make a difference in someone life, you don’t have to be brilliant, beautiful, or perfect, you just have to care ❤️