How Therapy Dogs Heal People

February 16, 2024

Therapy dogs have become crucial companions in various settings, bringing comfort, companionship, and emotional support to those in need.  In this blog post, we will explore the multifaceted benefits of therapy dogs and how their presence contributes to the well-being of those they interact with.

Perhaps their greatest super-power is how they can actually change our chemistry. Interacting with therapy dogs is known to release oxytocin, often referred to as the “bonding hormone.” The surge of oxytocin can improve mood and lift your spirits. The simple act of spending time with a therapy dog can improve a person’s emotional well-being. Beyond emotional well-being, therapy dogs also contribute to physical health. Petting a dog has been linked to physiological changes such as lower blood pressure and heart rate making you feel more relaxed. The calming presence of dogs helps to reduce stress, alleviate anxiety, and combat feelings of loneliness. The non-judgmental nature of these furry friends creates a safe space for people to express their emotions without fear of judgment or criticism (UCLA).

For individuals who may struggle with social interactions, therapy dogs act as social catalysts. Therapy dogs help to facilitate conversation and social engagement even when they aren’t the topic of the conversation itself. This social bridge helps individuals overcome barriers and foster a sense of connection with others. 

Therapy dogs extend their services to a diverse range of people and needs in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, disaster response areas, and more. Often, they cater to the specific needs of different groups, from children with learning disabilities to veterans dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) which is the inspiration behind our Shelter to Soldier Canine Ambassador program. As their presence continues to make a difference for the thousands served by our team every month, our ambassadors are a testament to the healing power of the human-animal bond. Our mighty team of 5 active therapy dogs share a common goal to serve as a “buffer” for those who are suffering from the invisible wounds of trauma, and they aim to Be a Light of hope in our community.

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