Research has confirmed what every pet owner already knows. Interactions with animals can reduce our stress levels and increase our overall well-being. Animals, and particularly dogs are often used as therapy animals.
Therapy animals are reliable, trained and obedient dogs (and sometimes cats) that enjoy visiting hospitals, nursing homes, classrooms, libraries and other facilities. Visiting with those in need in environments such as these provides a unique type of healing that only animals can give. Animals create tremendous motivation in people of all ages and can be a fundamental component in the success of physical treatments and educational programs.
This past summer, Maggie (my mini-goldendoodle) and I spent time participating in a therapy dog training program. We became a registered therapy team with New York Therapy Animals, a highly respected New York City based dog therapy program that works with numerous organizations within the region.
This year Maggie and I are visiting schools in New York City. We hope to bring a sense of calm and happiness, as well as confidence to the students we visit. Research shows that therapy dogs can serve as a non-threatening presence and help children feel more comfortable.
Last week, we had the opportunity to visit PS 213 in Bayside, Queens. We visited with first and second graders who were extremely excited to meet Maggie. The class had learned a lot about therapy dogs and about Maggie and I in particular. The students got to ask many questions, pet Maggie and give her treats. It was unbelievable to see the sheer joy on their faces when they interacted with Maggie. The quieter students opened up and the class was able to find common ground through talking about their experiences with dogs.
We look forward to visiting more schools and sharing the benefits that animals bring to those around them. To learn more about our work as a therapy team, check out "Maggie's Spot" on danaaussenberg.com.
Every student has a different learning style. For an individualized plan customized to your child's needs, please contact Dana Aussenberg at danaaussenberg.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.