Animal Assisted Therapy

 

I have a small rescue dog who sometimes accompanies me to the office.

Wolfie appears to be a mix of Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese, and or Poodle (we think).  He weighs about 10 pounds.  In my experience, Wolfie is mostly hypoallergenic, and doesn’t shed very much. However, it is possible that he may aggravate the allergies of sensitive people.

He accompanies me to my office because he tends to be very good at helping people who are depressed, anxious, and or anhedonic (have difficulty feeling pleasure or joy). These experiences can be the beginning of learning to shift anxiety and depression.

Animal assisted therapy can also help people develop skills in the area of empathy and nurturing.  He helps people develop experiences of connection and trust.  Wolfie is friendly and generally likes interacting with people. The touch of a warm, furry dog helps many people relax, lowering stress hormones and sometimes even blood pressure. He has sat (or slept) through hundreds of therapy sessions with myself and my clients.

Not everyone is an animal or dog lover, however.  If a client does not wish to interact with him, he will leave them alone and go to sleep, sometimes with a bit of redirection from me.

Clients who are interested in bringing their own dogs into a therapy session in my office should make arrangements with me ahead of time.  One requirement is that the dog must be free of fleas and other parasites or communicable conditions.

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