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Dog Therapy Appreciation Day

April 1, 2020

April 11th is Dog Therapy Appreciation Day. This is one cause that we are happy to support! Our canine pals are truly wonderful companions, who do some very important work! A local Des Moines, IA vet discusses therapy dogs below.

Breeds

Any dog can be a therapy dog, assuming they pass the training requirements. However, there are some breeds that are particularly well suited for it. The list includes the Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Lhasa Apso, Doberman Pinscher, Standard Poodle, Boxer, and the adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Fido’s Job

Therapy dogs go with their owners to various locations, such as schools, nursing homes, and hospitals. From there, Fido’s main duty is to provide comfort and cuddles to those who need it. He may spend the morning cheering up seniors in a nursing home, then comfort someone in a hospice, and then visit a child in a hospital. He may just sit quietly and be petted, or perhaps snuggle with a child who is learning to read aloud. (Dogs certainly are great listeners.)

Therapy Dogs or Service Dogs

Therapy dogs are often confused with service dogs. For the most part, these are two separate things, though some dogs can be both. Service dogs are trained to perform very specific tasks for their owners. A seeing-eye dog, for instance, is a service dog. Service dogs are also allowed access in places like restaurants, stores, and on public transportation. However, the lines do blur a bit at times. For example, an Emotional Support Dog may act very similarly to a therapy dog, as they may comfort someone with PTSD.

Speaking of service dogs, they also get two thumbs up from us. As you may know, we work with Puppy Jake, which is a wonderful organization that provides service dogs to veterans. You can learn more about this charity at their website here.

Benefits of Therapy Dogs

We suspect that anyone who has ever found comfort by cuddling their canine pals can attest to the magic of a dogs’ love. However, there are some more tangible benefits to snuggling Fido. Therapy dogs help lower blood pressure; promote healing; provide emotional support; and help people cope with anxiety, fear, or depression. Our furry friends are also wonderful at providing comfort and companionship.  

As your local Des Moines, IA vet clinic, we are dedicated to offering great care. Contact us anytime!

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