Healing animal therapy

Why are animals used in therapy for humans and how do animals affect our well-being?

How do our pets help

Quite simply, a patient's recovery is known to be swifter and even the most withdrawn patients open up to the idea of healing. Animals offer respite from the world, but there is more. We don't benefit solely with regard to health, but by forming a bond, a link that grows between us. By becoming a part of this scheme, by allowing others to experience these sensations is to know that they benefit from healing naturally and that they will have a chance to see life through different eyes, which is both rewarding and spiritually uplifting!

A variety of animals are used from hamsters, dogs, cats and horses, to pot-bellied pigs and even fish. People learn to give and receive unconditional love and acceptance, igniting a warmth in even the most withdrawn, as they reach out without fear to touch and interact with the animal. Animals make us aware of the fragility of life, always willing to give us second chances, to curb our aggression and to handle violent reactions under pressure, as violence is not and can never be a healthy way of communication. All living creatures respond positively to a caring and loving touch. Serving as mirrors into our personalities, we are able to observe and solve problems with an acute understanding, as we become more in touch with our emotions.

Animal therapy is heading our way.

In the United States and Europe where people are actively involved in pet therapy, people are aware of the phenomenal results achieved by Therapy Pets


Abused, mistreated and orphaned children learn to be confident and even develop leadership skills. The results are then incorporated into their human relationships! Animals can also encourage self-esteem in patients.

When observing people with pets, we realise that the majority of us, particularly younger children, respond better to animals than to human interactions


In the United States, prisoner rehabilitation programmes using animals are becoming very popular. Prisoners are allowed to look after abused and mistreated animals. They groom, care and interact with them, giving them caring and loving homes. Prisoners become more sensitive, which in turn helps them to tolerate threatening stimuli, such as exploring their past - usually the cause of their dysfunctional behaviour. Through their experience, it is hoped they may become productive citizens. At Cape Town's Pollsmoor Prison, currently one of the only prisons in South Africa using animals, birds have been introduced with remarkably inspiring results!

The final outcome? Animals encourage reminiscences and social interactions, thus stimulating miraculous recoveries! We are all born with 'common sense' and animals allow us to translate this characteristic into something useful. Moulding this talent helps us with stress - something we can use daily. All the animals ask in return is to be treated with the same respect.

Source:- Animaltalk, March 2002


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