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Animals Can Make Us Feel Good!

Animals Can Make Us Feel Good!

There is much research-based evidence supporting the many benefits that interaction with dogs can achieve in promoting human health and well-being, and this form of intervention has been shown to be beneficial in addressing physical, emotional, spiritual and psychosocial aspects of recovery, as well as facilitating communication skills for people with communication difficulties (aphasia.)

For example, research has suggested that introducing a living animal into the therapy session can result in patients feeling “more at ease, more communicative and motivated to engage in therapy” (Boris Levinson – “pet-facilitated therapy”1969).  Also simply stroking a dog has been shown to reduce high blood pressure (Odendaal J.S.J. 2000) and increase levels of Oxytocin (Johannes Odendaal and Roy Meintjes​ 2003).​

Interacting with a companion animal, such as a dog, works at a holistic level for appropriate people and offers a person-centred approach, offering a rare additional opportunity for tactile contact and nurturing.  Many stroke survivors suffer from depression, high anxiety, reduced confidence, poor motivation and low self-esteem.  Interacting with a living being that is non-judgemental can be an uplifting experience,  providing opportunities for the person to be an integral part of the treatment intervention rather than being a passive responder to rehab treatment.