Little beings that like to be hugged and carried around, that can be kept in pockets, are good therapy animals like ferrets, mice, rats, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, and very small dogs. It is always the best option to select a young animal that is cool and is not dangerous for one’s self, you need to handle it gently so that it becomes comfortable to being held.
Most programs do not require any particular educational background for candidates, but some require an undergraduate degree. Many animal-assisted therapists already have an advanced degree in a field such as psychology, psychiatry, education, rehabilitation therapy, occupational therapy, or other health care fields.
Benefits of Therapy Animals
Some of the major benefits of therapy animals include:
- Improved fine motor skills.
- Better balance.
- Increased focus and awareness.
- Increased self-esteem
- Ability to care for oneself.
- Reduced anxiety, grief, and isolation.
- Reduced blood pressure, depression, and risk of heart attack or stroke.
Steps to get Therapy Animals
These are the basic steps that need to be followed to have a therapy animal;
- Decide if you would benefit from a therapy animal.
- Connect with a certified mental health professional nearby.
- Choose the type of animal to adopt if you currently do not have a pet.
- Train your pet to be a good citizen.
- Properly use your ESA letter.
6 major types of therapy Animals
Therapy dogs come in all breeds and sizes and we have all seen them. At the mall, the grocery store, or walking down the street, therapy dogs are seen working for their owners.
Cats have been used for therapy as well, for people that may be frightened or afraid of dogs. The problem with cats as therapy animals is that they aren’t as easily transported as dogs and they aren’t usually trained as service animals as they are not large enough to perform tasks in the medical emergency.
Cats are commonly used in nursing homes as they move in and out of rooms, checking on all the patients, pausing to snooze and snuggle. They also help to aid the elderly suffering from dementia.
Equine therapy is popular among individuals with a variety of diseases. Taking care of a large animal involves your full attention and offers a break from whatever is causing you anxiety and depression.
Learning the skills necessary to care for a horse helps promote confidence and eases anxiety and impatience. Teaching an individual how to trust and interact with a horse has shown enormous benefits for all people involved. horse therapy is scientifically proven to lower blood pressure and their calm nature helps enhance social skills. Therapeutic riding also helps in anger management and behavioral problems. If the rider is not respecting the horse, then the horse won’t respect the rider it’s a two-way relationship.
Other small animals have been used as a more appropriate form of therapy. Animals such as guinea pigs and rabbits offer the same assistance with comfort, fine motor skills, and emotional benefits as their canine co-workers.
Smaller pets have the benefit of being easy to carry and care for, for those individuals who may not be able to care for a dog or cat.
While new to the therapy animal occupation, reptiles have been used to help individuals struggling with depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse.
Caring for a reptile takes a great deal of concentration and offers individuals a reprieve from their emotional, mental, or physical struggles. Caring for reptiles, because it is not common, also gives individuals a surge of confidence and an area in which they can succeed.
Parrots specifically have been known to have a high level of sympathy, making them great candidates for therapy animals. Parrots can be taught words and phrases, which can help individuals and their animals work together during certain psychological phases.
Can you take care of your therapy animals?
Before getting any kind of therapy animal, it is essential to critically consider all the obligations that come along. ESAs are a bit easier since they do not need special training, but any living thing is still a responsibility. If you cannot manage a dog, think about a lower-maintenance pet like a cat or a fish. If even that is too much for you, try starting with a plant or a stuffed animal, or any other kind of treatment.