If you didn’t already know, April 30th is National Therapy Animal Day, which was created by Pet Partners™. They are the largest trainers and advocates for therapy animals in the world. Therapy animals provide joy to those who get to meet them whether the animal is a dog, cat, guinea pig, bird, rabbit, llama, or miniature horse. Yes, horse! Yes, llama! One misconception about therapy animals is that they can do all the things a service animal can do.
Service animals are quite different in the way they are trained and what they are trained to do. While service animals can open doors and drawers, pick up things with their mouths, and alert you when something is wrong, therapy animals provide a calm comfort by just being there and getting lots of pets.
The therapy animal has a “handler” who guides the animal what to do and when. Research has indicated that interactions with animals have a positive effect on those facilities they visit – both physically and psychologically. Facilities include hospitals, rehab centers, shelters, assisted-living/nursing homes, schools, libraries, and more.
National Therapy Animal Day was created to recognize them for all they do – on a volunteer basis. To find out how you can celebrate Therapy Animal Day, go to the Pet Partners’ website.
If you’re interested on how to start your pooch on a path to therapy, consult our trainer about taking the Canine Good Citizen class. You can also contact Pet Partners or North Star Therapy Animals (located in Minnesota) for more information on their programs. Who knows? Maybe some day you’ll be saying “Have you met my therapist?”.