Are Pet Therapy Animals Beneficial?

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If you have a pet, you know just how happy and calm they can make you. Growing scientific research is showing that our pets are making us healthier as well.

Interaction with a gentle, friendly pet has significant benefits for both mental and physical help. For mental health, some benefits include lifting spirits and lessens depression, decreases feelings of isolation and alienation, provides comfort, decreases anxiety, and many more. For physical help, some benefits include lowers blood pressure, improves cardiovascular health, diminishes overall physical pain, and more.

Jessica Rundell, a senior at Le Moyne College, has a pet therapy animal that lives with her right on campus. She got her pet, Oliver, around November. Jessica almost took a leave of absence last semester before she went and got Oliver because her anxiety was so bad she could barely get out of bed and go to therapy. She has noticed herself being both calmer and happier since she has gotten Oliver. He helps with her anxiety and knows when she is having anxiety attacks or when she is sick. This helps Jessica be able to handle her symptoms and deal with them because Oliver is right there to help make her feel better.

Jessica got approved to have her cat on campus through the disability support center. She needed her doctor to sign off saying she would benefit from having Oliver live with her. There is a committee who needs to approve the request. The process was more difficult than Jessica thought. She obviously isn’t at home so it is a lot harder to get her doctor to respond and to get the appropriate paperwork. She said the school did stuff pretty quickly, surprisingly.

Some challenges Jessica has noticed is it is hard to go places because she needs someone to watch her cat. She also isn’t allowed to take him out of her room, even though he is a kitten and needs to run around. A dorm room is a small area that animals shouldn’t be confined to 24/7, therefore Jessica is going to try and get Oliver outside more when the weather gets nicer.

Some benefits of having Oliver on campus is Jessica’s residents can go and see him when they are stressed. Oliver doesn’t only benefit Jessica, he benefits everyone who may need a second to breathe if they go to see him. People all over the campus come and see Oliver and this is very beneficial because it could help decrease their stress and anxiety levels. Oliver also benefits from this because he has many people who come to play with him, which he needs as a kitten.

Overall Jessica recommends other people to get therapy animals, as long as they are responsible with them. It is actually hard for people to abuse the ability of having a pet therapy animal. This is because you need doctor documentation stating you have been dealing with this (anxiety, depression) for years.

Oliver has helped Jessica with her anxiety and stress, emphasizing pet therapy animals are very beneficial to people. Having a pet can be a better option for people than taking medication to help with their anxiety or depression.