Most dog owners would agree that their canine companions bring great joy into their daily lives. Therefore, it’s no surprise that therapy dogs can help people feel comfort and happiness in various settings like healthcare facilities and schools. Through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD), canines throughout the country, including some locally in Edmond and Oklahoma City, are making days brighter and less stressful for members of their communities.
What Is the Alliance of Therapy Dogs?
The Alliance of Therapy Dogs is an international registry of trained therapy dog teams that provides testing, certification, registration, support and insurance for its members. These members volunteer their dogs at various facilities, including hospitals (such as cancer centers and hospice facilities), nursing homes, airports, schools, assisted living facilities, rehab facilities, mental health institutions, college campuses and patients’ homes. Wherever some comfort and smiles are needed, that’s where ADT members go.
“I believe that whether it is one-on-one or in a group, what we do in Alliance of Therapy Dogs isn’t just volunteering,” says Kim Williams, President of ATD. “Our teams are vital in contributing to the overall well-being of our communities.”
Therapy Dogs Offer Invaluable Mental Health Assistance
The benefits of therapy dogs in a healthcare or educational setting have been proven time and time again and cannot be overstated. According to a 2019 National Institute of Health study, the presence of a dog in the classroom can promote a positive mood and produce anti-stress effects on the student body as a whole.
“Dogs offer a unique type of social support, as they can provide unconditional affection in a way that humans sometimes cannot,” says Lauren Powell, a postdoc student at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “Studies show people generally feel less stressed after interacting with a therapy dog.”
Heeding the Call to Train a Therapy Dog
Are you interested in having your family pet become a therapy dog? Any breed of dog can become a therapy dog as long as they possess a calm demeanor and friendly personality. To become certified with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, a dog must complete four evaluations. The first one includes a quick assessment of the handler and volunteer background check. The second, third, and fourth have to be evaluated in various settings, mainly medical settings. Visit this page for an easy step-by-step application process.
Protect Your Furry Friends at Sunset Veterinary Clinic
At Sunset Veterinary Clinic, we are here to take care of all your favorite furry companions, whether they are trained therapy dogs or simply your beloved family pets. Please give us a call at 405-844-2888 and visit us at 2017 N Kelly Avenue, Edmond, OK 73003, for all your veterinary needs.