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Animal Therapy Day

April 15, 2021

April 30th is National Animal Therapy Day. If you have a pet, there’s a good chance you can remember at least a few times that your furry friend helped comfort you or cheer you. Our animal companions have unofficially been acting as therapists for centuries. However, professional animal therapy is a fairly new industry. Here, a Fort Collins, CO vet discusses this new holiday, and offers some tips on celebrating these wonderful animals.


W  hat Is Pet Therapy?

The term ‘pet therapy’ is an umbrella term, which includes many different types of animal-assisted therapies and activities. In some cases, pet therapists may ‘work’ in hospitals, nursing homes, or hospices, providing comfort to people who are coping with difficult changes or situations. They may also just generally be used to cheer people up. This makes perfect sense, if you think about it. Purrs and tail wags can be very comforting. And it’s almost impossible not to smile when a dog or cat is cuddling with you.


Uses

Pet therapy can be used in many different situations. It is often utilized to soothe people who are undergoing cancer treatments. Therapy pets also provide comfort and companionship to people in long-term care facilities; veterans who are suffering from PTSD; people who are struggling with grief, anxiety, or depression; or even kids who are nervous about dental procedures. They’re even being brought to schools to help students deal with pressure .


Therapy Vs. Service Animals

People often get confused about the difference between therapy animals and service animals. Service animals are trained to perform specific tasks or activities, whereas therapy pets mostly provide companionship and emotional support. Service animals also have more legal protections, and are allowed just about anywhere. 


Why National Therapy Day?

So, what is the purpose of this holiday? It’s really just to help boost awareness about therapy animals, and the work they do. It’s also a hat-tip to the people who train and work with therapy animals.


Celebrating

How does one honor National Therapy Animal Day? Spreading the word is one great way to help. You can also look into local organizations that work with therapy animals and see if there are ways you can help them out. Some folks may even consider going into the field of pet therapy.


Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Fort Collins, CO animal clinic, today!

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