Photo by Valeriia Miller
For the longest, dogs have been regarded as man’s best friend. This isn’t only because of their adorable semblance and endearing nature. But it’s also because they serve numerous purposes, from protectors to companions and even as therapy dogs.
The connection between dogs and people runs deep. It isn’t one that’s only been forged in the past decade or two. Instead, it’s a bond that’s been formed for thousands of years since, occurring naturally between significantly different beings. A primary reason why they’re naturally fond of each other is that they’re similarly social in nature, allowing them to live and co-exist peacefully together.
Dogs are bringers of joy and comfort. After a long day at school or work, people come home to their dogs, and almost magically, their stress gets relieved. Dogs are man’s best friend for a reason. They make people happy and forget their worries. Now, what sort of pleasure and solace can dogs offer those who need them the most? Imagine the emotional benefits troubled people can get from them.
Piper Finds Her Special is a book by Alison Keenan that provides readers with a look at how the mind of a therapy dog works. The book follows how this dog found her purpose while helping children learn how to read. Piper Finds Her Special is based on a true story about the author’s team of dogs, who works with children with learning challenges. Through the magic of the dog’s unconditional love and affection, children learn to stop being scared and anxious while reading.
While it’s only a fraction of what therapy dogs can do, this book and Team Keenan reflect the reality of what dogs can do in the medical or clinical setting. They aren’t only cute pets people can rear to amuse themselves with and shower love. They also provide a myriad of health benefits.
Benefits of Improving Therapy Dogs
Dog therapy works wonders for people’s emotional health in various settings. Most of the time, they’re typically brought to hospitals, hospice centers, schools, and other healthcare facilities. However, with the power of this human-animal bond, the relief they can offer goes beyond stress relief.
Teaching Social Skills
Dogs are adorable. That’s undeniable. Their cheeky appearance draws people toward them, impulsively making them want to pet them. With the attention the dog gets, owners aren’t forced but encouraged to be as social and friendly as their pets. However, these social skills might require more than a simple dog’s lead. They need to be determined to become more open to approaching and openly communicating with others. It would also need a lot of practice to achieve personal changes.
Adopting or rearing a dog can significantly affect how people can be with others. For one, pets can relieve stress putting these people in a better headspace when interacting with people. They would be less likely to have emotional and unfair outbursts because of stress with their dogs’ emotional support.
When people are sad, they don’t just frown and physically mope around. When they’re sad, their brain will also be structured in a way that remains to be sad. The brain and the body will produce hormones that will keep someone trapped in the same headspace unless they want and seek an improvement. This is why people strive to do things that can make them happy when they are sad.
Interacting with a dog is one of these activities since it helps change a person’s outlook and brain’s chemicals. Being around dogs increases people’s happy hormones like oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. These chemicals make people feel elated, decreasing their cortisol levels. While this change in the brain’s chemicals is temporary, it can’t be argued that it’s still beneficial to one’s emotional health.
Unlike humans, dogs aren’t intimidating. They take one look at a person and do not draw any judging looks or opinions. This makes them the perfect company when learning something. The learning ropes become more manageable when people are accompanied by someone they’re comfortable with, whom they aren’t afraid of committing mistakes in front of. Being in this learning environment builds confidence.
Reduces Blood Pressure
With dogs decreasing stress levels comes reducing an individual’s blood pressure and heart rate. Studies have shown that interacting with dogs presents these changes. Aside from naturally causing these changes, dogs also encourage people to go out and sweat more, making them healthier. Dogs thrive outdoors and on being active. They need to be taken out for walks, to socialize, and for physical and mental stimulation. This drives people to be in a better state physically and mentally.