April 11th is Dog Therapy Appreciation Day! Many of us already know that our canine companions can be a wonderful source of comfort and support, so it’s no surprise that Fido has done so well in this line of work. A local Carolina Forest, SC vet discusses these Very Good Boys (and Girls) in this article.
Therapy dogs are not the same as service dogs or working dogs, as those pups have been trained to perform very specific tasks. A therapy dog’s main goal and occupation is to simply provide comfort and support to anyone who needs it. Therapy dogs are often found in hospitals and hospices. In fact, as many as 60 percent of hospices use therapy dogs. Fido also visits places like schools and treatment centers.
There are about 50,000 certified therapy dogs here in the US. Training to be a therapy dog isn’t as intense as that of a service dog, simply because there aren’t as many complex tasks to learn. A therapy dog’s petucation usually only takes about 6 to 8 weeks. However, the biggest requisite is that the pup remain friendly, calm, and well-behaved in any situation. Fido will need to pass several tests before being certified.
Technically, any type of dog can be a therapy dog. However, some of our canine companions definitely shine in this line of work. The Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever are two of the most popular therapy dogs. However, Poodles, Greyhounds, and English Setters also do well. You may also find a variety of smaller pups, from Welsh Corgis to Pomeranians, working as therapy dogs.
Fido has been doing wonderful work in this sector, and the numbers really reflect that. A Google consumer survey showed that nearly three quarters of pet owners felt that their animal companions improved their mental health. Studies have also found that owning a dog can lower the risk of heart disease by as much as 36 percent. Therapy dogs can also be very helpful to those who are struggling with mental and emotional health. One Purdue University study found that therapy animals improved social behaviors for autistic children by a whopping 54 percent. That’s definitely something to celebrate!
As your local Carolina Forest, SC pet hospital, we are dedicated to providing top-notch care. Please contact us for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs.