Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) – the pawfect pet therapy job for Jaxson…
AAT is pet therapy involving and using animals as a form of treatment. It’s another way to assist patients with different disabilities through their social, emotional or cognitive functions.
THERAPY DOGS –
are trained to provide affection and a sense of comfort to individuals in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools hospices, people with learning difficulties, and stressful situations, such as disaster areas. Source: Feinberg Consulting
For more than 4 years Harley’s been working as a therapy dog. Reading programs and assisted living facilities were his “occupational’ choices in Virginia. That changed when we moved to South Carolina.
Now he’s thriving at the hospital. Harley visits both adults and children. Spends quality time in procedures or ICU. Wherever he’s needed – he’s there – to comfort those he’s around…
Laying still on a bed, pretending to be a stuffed animal, fits Harley’s pawsonality! Not Jaxson!
However, watching Jaxson interact with my brother during his chemo treatments convinced me he was “magic medicine.” Harold smiles and comes alive when he’s around…
Jaxson is more than ready for a pet therapy job, I just need to find the right fit!
TYPES OF PET THERAPY –
There are three unique/different types of therapy.
- Therapeutic Visitation – household pets (like Harley) come with their pet parents to visit hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities. Visits from these dogs can brighten someones day, lift their spirits and motivate them with the goal of getting well and going home.
- Animal Assisted Therapy – dogs assist physical and occupational therapists meet goals critical to the person’s individual recovery. Many times AAT dogs are used in the beginning of a rehabilitation session by pulling, pushing, or playing with the patient. This helps the person gain mobility in their limbs, increase motor control, along with hand-eye coordination.
Video footage of Jaxson and my daughter playing around in the gym, reinforces my belief he could excel in AAT…
- Facility Therapy – dogs in nursing homes that are trained to keep those suffering from Alzheimer’s or other mental illnesses from getting into trouble. Typically these dogs are specially trained. Often they are handled by a trained staff member and live at the facility.
Before he can fly solo, Jaxson has to finish his observations. We’re scheduled to finish before the end of the month.
MUSC has a few places where I’d like for him to work, and of course I will keep you posted about his progress.
UCLA Health offers a list of research findings regarding Animal Assisted Therapy and what science says about it for both mental and physical health. #interestingread
Sometimes petting a dog is all the therapy you need ❤