Therapy Animals

Therapy Dog

Dogs, cats and horses are not the only animals partnering as therapy pets. Many different species can form an animal-human bond. However, pet therapy organizations accept only domesticated animals for of course, their temperaments are much more reliable. Wild and exotic animals don’t have the personalities or cannot be tamed to meet the criteria for a therapy pet.

Pets currently used in therapy work include dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, guinea pigs, pet rats, llamas, alpacas, donkeys and birds such as African Grey Parrots and Cockatoos.

Domesticated animals that are being considered for use in therapy include potbellied pigs, sheep, goats, cows and chickens. Dolphins are sometimes used for people with emotional problems.

In order to qualify for evaluation as a therapy pet, small animals such as rabbits, rats, guinea pigs, etc. must be at least 6 months old. Birds must live at least one year in an owner’s home. Other animals must be at least one year old and live with the owner at least 6 months before considered for evaluation as therapy pets.

All animals must go through a training period before they are allowed in the field to work their therapy. Animals must be gentle, willing to be touched, not alarmed by noises or medical equipment, etc.

Besides working with patients who have medical problems, animals work wonders with adults and children who have emotional disturbances. Studies continue to show us how important animals are in our lives.

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