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Pet Therapy

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How do they do it?  For those of us with pets we often wonder how our fellow non-pet owning neighbors can live in a home that lacks the love and companionship that comes from sharing our lives with our pets.  Of course there are valid reasons that some people cannot have pets - health issues, allergies, and financial considerations are a few.  That said, for the rest of the folks… they just don’t know what are missing.
 
What’s amazing though is that the benefit of pet ownership for some extends beyond
the joy of a knowing the unconditional love of a pet.  Research has shown time and again that pets can provide measurable benefits during times of illness, physical and emotional stress, and chronic disease, and that during these times, animals can provide an improved quality of life.


Some of the reported benefits include reduced anxiety, increased sense of well being both physically and mentally, and increased mental capabilities. In other words, having a pet present can really make a difference in your day to day life.  They are a source of comfort and love, a constant companion, and can provide a true sense of security during difficult times.  Also, attending to the needs of a pet offers some who are often being cared for the ability to be a caregiver themselves.

These benefits are not only recognized by pet owners, in fact the use of animals for therapeutic benefit is an accepted and welcome practice in many hospitals and long term medical care facilities.  A number of different animals are used in therapy, including dogs, cats, elephants, birds, dolphins, rabbits, lizards, and other small animals.  Right here in Tallahassee we are blessed to have an active pet therapy community.  Look no further than our own Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and you'll find the very active Tallahassee Memorial Animal Therapy Teams, a volunteer group that has been sanctioned by the largest pet therapy governing body, the Delta Society.  Visit their websites to learn more about pet therapy, or how you can get involved with these outstanding groups.

Tallahassee Memorial Animal Therapy:
http://www.tmh.org/VolunteerAnimalTherapy

Pet Therapy Inc: http://pet-therapy.org/

The Delta Society: http://www.deltasociety.org/

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Dr. Potter is the medical director of Allied Veterinary Emergency Hospital and is the only board certified emergency veterinarian in Tallahassee.

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