Research over the years indicates that pet therapy can decrease stress, anxiety, and depression in clinical settings. StoneCrest Center offers pet therapy for patients of all ages as a joyful and meaningful way to treat a variety of behavioral health concerns.
StoneCrest Center’s pet therapy dog, Mr. Schultz III
What Is Pet Therapy?
Pet therapy was initially used to treat children in behavioral health settings. Treatment providers began using animal therapy to help adult and senior adult patients in a hospital environment in the 1970s, and this has become a popular form of experiential therapy in the 21st century.
At StoneCrest Center, pet therapy is available to any patient who wishes to participate as long as a doctor provides permission.
Our current program consists of one therapy dog, an Australian shepherd named Mr. Schultz III. Patients can request a visit from Mr. Schultz III, and he will be available to visit their room at designated times to offer comfort and promote positive reinforcement on the road to recovery.
All pet therapy sessions are guided interactions arranged with the help of a pet therapy volunteer under the coordination of StoneCrest Center’s activity therapists.
Who It Helps
Pet therapy can have a positive effect on patients of all ages. Research shows that children have been able to undergo procedures such as MRIs without the use of anesthesia after participating in pet therapy. It can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke in some adult patients.
For individuals who are struggling with dementia, pet therapy has proved to improve mood, calm nerves, and lead to a decrease in behavioral concerns.
Overview of Pet Therapy Benefits
While there are benefits to pet therapy that are more dependent on specific populations, this therapeutic programming also has more general benefits across all age ranges.
Participating in pet therapy can lead to:
- Boosts in assisted or independent movement
- An increase in verbal communication skills
- A reduction in feelings of aggression or anger
- Greater promotion of empathic feelings
- More willingness to engage in other therapeutic activities
- Development of broader social skills
Pet therapy is an exciting opportunity to alleviate pain, reduce stress, and improve a patient’s overall state of mind and spirit as they pursue recovery. StoneCrest Center is proud to offer this programming option to help our patients meet their treatment goals.