The ideas of using puppies (and other pets) for therapy isn’t a new idea. Therapy animals have been around for a very long time. Dogs have been visiting people in hospitals and nursing homes for years – therapy dogs were even introduced to the war zone in Iraq in 2007, and many people rely on their pets as Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals.
But now a new group of people are reaping the benefits of a puppy fix – students and overworked employees. As mental health becomes less stigmatised, people are discussing different ways to treat mental health issues such as anxiety, stress, and depression. Puppy rooms and meet-and-greets are becoming more and more common, and we’re starting to see just how beneficial animals are in our lives and not just as our best friends.
They help us cope with anxiety, stress, and homesickness
Everyone encounters a bit of anxiety or stress daily in life, but some people are hit way harder and need some type of coping mechanism. Well, that’s where puppies come in. Dogs can help to lower levels of stress and can offer companionship to anyone feeling homesick or missing their own pets. Students, especially, may feel anxious over exam time or overworked employees might need a way to de-stress.
They give us a sense of purpose
Taking care of something wholly dependent on you will give you a reason to keep going every day. When you’re feeling lethargic or down, an animal that needs you can help pull you out of these down-in-the-dump moods.
They make us happy! No really, science says so…
People have not only reported that having a dog makes them happier, but they find waking up easier, they’re more patient, affectionate and find that their dog has helped them get through a ruff (‘scuse the pun) time in their life. Playing with a puppy releases endorphins, so if you’re looking for a quick shot of joy, pet a puppy!
Dogs force us to be social
Dogs are social creatures and we’re their best friends, but they also force us to get outside and meet people. Whether it’s out on a walk, at the dog park, or at a puppy therapy event, dogs are a great way to go out and meet someone new. And this way, you know that they already share a love for animals!
Ok, let’s be real. Puppies are just super adorable. What’s not to love? Those fluffy floppy ears? That endlessly wagging tail? Or those sweet, sweet puppy eyes offering you a lifetime of unconditional love. You can show your affection and they’ll be affectionate back – dogs love affection.
There are so many awesome things about pet therapy and the benefits of a pet are limitless. Whether you’re overworked, lonely, or just need a little dose of happiness, a pet will be there for you. And if you’re not exactly ready for the commitment of owning your own lifelong furry friend, but still want the benefits of one, therapy animals are a great resource. Meet-and-greets and casual “puppy rooms” are more of an informal setting, where animal assisted therapy is an actual goal oriented plan to address your needs.