If you’re a current or past patient of ours here at Dynamic Edge, you may have heard me say over and over (and over) again “let’s get a therapy dog” or “when we get a therapy dog...” followed by a head shake from Sam. My dog, Clover, has visited a few times and patients are always smiling when they see her. One patient exclaimed she felt “so much better” after her appointment because of a dog in the office!
Therapy dogs have several benefits. They can provide comfort, reduce anxiety, encourage faster recovery, and lower blood pressure. For example, if you’re laying down on one of the stretch out tables and the therapist is bending your knee or dry needling your neck, a dog can come right up you, lick your hand or sit beside you. Who wouldn’t want a wet nose to come right up to them to cheer them up? Even just a pat on a dog’s head provides instant relief. The pain won’t seem as severe with a therapy dog around!
Some schools have even started using therapy dogs as a way to help destress students during finals week. Cities and towns that have been hit by a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, have programs where a therapy dog is brought to a site to help comfort people who’ve lost their homes.
Now, how can one get their dog therapy certified? Dogs must have certain qualifications such as being well behaved, of course. An observer would have to come over to your house to see the dog’s behavior and demeanor, then eventually the observer would take your dog to a medical facility for three visits before becoming official.