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  • Writer's pictureDavis Falniuk

Visit with Davis and pet therapy.

Davis' bench overlooks Lynnwood Ravine. Dora has spent hours here visiting her dad.

Dora brought so much joy to Davis and Anj and continues to light up Anj's life (and Dora's grandparents!) Davis loved spending time with all dogs. He had a way with them, he calmed them. Every dog Davis passed had to come up and say hi to him. He loved every encounter.

The value of pet therapy is fairly well known and is scientifically proven. What is the difference between a therapy or emotional support or service dog? According to the Canine Journal; A therapy dog is trained to provide comfort and affection to people in disaster areas, long term care facilities, hospitals or schools for example. Emotional support dogs provide their owners with therapeutic benefits through companionship. A service dog is trained to help people with disabilities such as visual impairments or seizure disorders (and many more).

Paws for People claim the following benefits (Therapy or Emotional Support Dogs):

For Physical Health

  • lowers blood pressure

  • improves cardiovascular health

  • releases endorphins (oxytocin) that have a calming effect

  • diminishes overall physical pain

  • the act of petting produces an automatic relaxation response, reducing the amount of medication some folks need

For Mental Health

  • lifts spirits and lessens depression

  • decreases feelings of isolation and alienation

  • encourages communication

  • provides comfort

  • increases socialization and sense of community

  • reduces boredom

  • decreases anxiety

  • helps children overcome speech and emotional disorders

  • creates motivation for the client to recover faster

  • reduces loneliness

For Literacy Support (PAWS for Reading)

  • helps children focus better

  • improves literacy skills

  • provides non-stressful, non-judgmental environment

  • increases self-confidence

  • reduces self-consciousness

  • encourages the love of reading in specific and learning in general

In Physical Therapy

  • increases joint movement

  • improves recovery time

  • maintains or increases motor skills

  • provides motivation to move more, stretch farther, exercise longer

Dora has certainly helped our physical and mental health. Davis loved the various therapy dog visits he had during his hospital stays. Most cities have non-profit therapy dog organizations. Look up yours to volunteer or request a visit.


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