Pet Therapy

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Introduction

Pet therapy or its more appropriate term, Animal-Assisted-Intervention may be considered as the sum total of activities such as AAT (Animal Assisted Therapy) and AAA (Animal Assisted Activity). In both cases, the animals are used to build upon an existing bond with a human who is suffering from certain physiological and/or psychological problems.

Irrespective of the activity, the common denominator here is that pets have a deeper role in our societies. In most cases, pets are viewed as a non-threatening entity group whose non-judgemental attitude towards us as well as their ability to give us affection on demand is why many of us have a positive outlook towards pets.

Cats and dogs have been predominantly used for pet therapy. However, with time, and given the varied types of pets that people have become accustomed to seeing, horses, guinea pigs, fishes, and hamsters have also entered the fray and offer the same solutions when used within the guidelines of pet therapy.

History Of Pet Therapy

Pet therapy or its more appropriate term, Animal-Assisted-Intervention may be considered as the sum total of activities such as AAT (Animal Assisted Therapy) and AAA (Animal Assisted Activity). In both cases, the animals are used to build upon an existing bond with a human who is suffering from certain physiological and/or psychological problems.

Irrespective of the activity, the common denominator here is that pets have a deeper role in our societies. In most cases, pets are viewed as a non-threatening entity group whose non-judgemental attitude towards us as well as their ability to give us affection on demand is why many of us have a positive outlook towards pets.

Cats and dogs have been predominantly used for pet therapy. However, with time, and given the varied types of pets that people have become accustomed to seeing, horses, guinea pigs, fishes, and hamsters have also entered the fray and offer the same solutions when used within the guidelines of pet therapy.

AAT vs AAA

In Animal assisted intervention (AAI), the primary caregiver is a trained professional who uses animals as a catalyst or motivating force to achieve certain physical and/or mental health objectives with respect to the one receiving the intervention.

That said, AAI can be broadly delineated into two categories – AAT or Animal Assisted Therapy, and AAA or Animal Assisted Activities. While the two might sound one and the same, they are indeed different.

AAA is primarily concerned with improving the quality of life through animal assistance, and could offer a range of benefits that could be recreational, educational, motivational or therapeutic in nature.

Delivered by a trained professional or volunteer, AAA includes the likes of short duration visits of pets to hospitals, veteran clubs and long-term health care centers to raise the spirits of the people there. AAA based visits do not have to adhere to any specific treatment goals, documentation and or time duration.

Conversely, AAT is a more goal-driven and structured procedure so devised to meet certain treatment objectives. It is administered by a professional health service provider, with the necessary expertise in field of clinical applications of human-animal bond and the skills to achieve those objectives.

They are timed sessions where documentation becomes an integral aspect to keep track of any changes in behavior and/or health symptoms in the patient after each session. In that respect the formal process of AAT is very similar to that of a visit to a doctor or psychiatrist.  

Pet Therapy Applications

Pet therapy or its more appropriate term, Animal-Assisted-Intervention may be considered as the sum total of activities such as AAT (Animal Assisted Therapy) and AAA (Animal Assisted Activity). In both cases, the animals are used to build upon an existing bond with a human who is suffering from certain physiological and/or psychological problems.

Irrespective of the activity, the common denominator here is that pets have a deeper role in our societies. In most cases, pets are viewed as a non-threatening entity group whose non-judgmental attitude towards us as well as their ability to give us affection on demand is why many of us have a positive outlook towards pets.

Cats and dogs have been predominantly used for pet therapy. However, with time, and given the varied types of pets that people have become accustomed to seeing, horses, guinea pigs, fishes, and hamsters have also entered the fray and offer the same solutions when used within the guidelines of pet therapy.

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