Service Animals: Lending a Helping Paw?


by Kathy Kirchoff

Dogs aren’t the only animals who can serve people with disabilities. Cats, birds, horses, monkeys, dolphins, and pigs can too.  Service animals can assist with a wide range of disabilities, and offer a number of great benefits.

 

  • They also offer companionship, easing isolation and loneliness while keeping disabled persons safe, healthy, and independent.

 

  • They can have a calming, therapeutic effect on those with autism and cerebral palsy by soothing them and helping them develop social skills, movement, and appropriate behavior.  

 

  • They are being welcomed at therapy sessions to help keep emotions in check and reduce stress. They can help those with mental health disabilities feel more normal, by having someone to care for, love, and listen to them.  Canines for Combat Veterans are assisting disabled vets with daily living and post traumatic stress disorder.

 

  • Therapy animals  can also lower blood pressure, and ease arthritis and muscle pain by encouraging movement and exercise.  

 

  • They are proving to be useful in rehabilitation facilities by decreasing recuperation time and in assisted living communities.

 

For assistance in finding a service animal or other services for the disabled, please visit ISEEK.org.

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