PJ has been recovering from an addiction, when he decided to adopt a dog to help him cope with the transition. He picked a dog from the euthanasia list, a pit bull, named Clove. She was almost put down twice. Clove was a shy scared animal, it seemed like she would never trust a human again. She wouldn’t even look at PJ. To earn her trust PJ took her for a life-changing walk, that turned into a never-ending adventure. Please, SHARE their beautiful story.
Animals have been used for therapy for centuries. The first known occurrences of Animal- Assisted Therapies started in Gheel, Belgium in the ninth century. There, caring for farm animals was a part of an assisted living program designed for people with disabilities. Some of the earliest AAT programs performed in the United States were used for psychiatric patients. The presence of pets had a beneficial effect on both children and adults with mental health issues.
Studies have shown that petting animals can lower high blood pressure, and also may improve survival rates for heart attack victims. One of the recent researches, performed on 421 adults, proved that dog owners had a better one-year survival after a heart attack, compared to those who did not own dogs. Physical contact with animals also causes endorphins to be released, which helps suppress the pain response.
AAT is great for recovering patients. Such activities as walking or running with a dog, or throwing a ball for the animal improve the mobility; while petting, grooming, or feeding the animal develops fine motor skills. Pets help patients with communication as socialization as well. For people with PTSD it is easier to talk to a dog about their emotions than to a human. Animals also make people go outside, which often leads to more conversations and socialization.