31 March 2016

National Therapy Animal Day

National Therapy Animal Day was created in 2015 by Pet Partners to recognize all of the exceptional therapy animals who partner with their human companions to bring comfort and healing to those in need. 

This year, the celebration takes place April 30th.

According to Pet Partners, the goals of National Therapy Animal Day include:
  • Recognize and honour therapy animals
  • Raise awareness and educate the public about the role therapy animals play in enhancing the health and well being of humans
  • Honour the thousands of dedicated handlers (the human members of therapy animal teams) who volunteer their time and compassion during visits.

The Canadian Service Dog Foundation defines three different types of therapy animals.

Therapeutic Visitation Animals are the most commonly used therapy animals. Most often these animals are a family pet whose owner has an interest in sharing the joy of animal companionship with those who may otherwise not have that luxury.

Animal-Assisted Therapy Animals are specifically trained to support the efforts of physical rehabilitation and occupational therapists to meet the needs of a person's recovery program. The animals encourage patients to work on fine motor skills, range of motion, balance, and interactive skills.

Facility Therapy Animals normally reside at the facility in which they are employed. Long-term care facilities, nursing homes, Alzheimers and psychiatric units are all examples of facilities that frequently benefit from their services. These animals are unique in that they generally don't have one owner/handler but rather they work alongside facility staff.

This year Pet Partners is selling special t-shirts and sweatshirts to raise funds for their animal therapy teams. They are available until April 9th.

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