Ferret Care

Process of animal assisted therapy  

A typical AAT program (a formal one, where a therapist who owns a pet, visits a patient) goes something like this. First, a therapist decides whether AAT would be helpful for a patient. Next, patients are introduced to healing animals through what many refer to as “meet and greet” activities or AAA. The therapist and patient set goals specific to their desired treatment outcomes, which may include reduction of blood pressure, increased mobility or even depression relief.  


Most of the time a patient will engage in long-term or continuous therapy with the animal and a supervisor or therapist. That is of course, as long as the patient and therapist mutually agree using an animal is advantageous to both during therapy sessions. Often, patients may exhibit some resistance at first, but lighten up after the first session, while others immediately embrace the concept of “pet” therapy and actively engage their new friend to help with healing.  


Often, once a patient demonstrates significant improvement, they may seek their own pet to sustain long term improvements including a reduction in stress, anxiety or loneliness. For others, a pet adoption may be necessary to assist an individual with long-term mobility needs or balance requirements. If someone suffers a physical disability for example, a large dog may prove valuable for encouraging calmness and promoting greater stability during activities requiring movement or walking.  


Some dogs are specifically trained to help patients with permanent disabilities. Consider for example, “seeing eye” guides, dogs trained to work with patients that are blind or have very limited vision. These dogs are specially trained to work only with patients with visual handicaps.  


Dogs are fun and very friendly. They are the most loyal animals to most people. Usually, you can do just about anything with a dog. You can sit and relax, watch television, play a great game of fetch, take them for walk or late-night jog and just enjoy the time that is being spent together. It is a remarkable experience and something that a person should treasure for a lifetime. 


You may discover other animals trained for specific tasks. Many horses are trained to enhance strength, endurance and balance for patients with mobility problems. Riding a horse is not as easy as it seems. There are also programs that use horses to encourage communication and calmness, in much the same way a dog might.  



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