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Pet therapy: when the man / animal relationship saves life

dog hospital pet therapy

What is pet therapy and how does it work? Arrived in Italy around the 90s, it has its roots in the mists of time.

Born around the 1970s in the United States, pet therapy began to be used in Italy only in 1990 . Effective in alleviating various ailments, it requires the use of properly trained animals. Likewise, their guardians must also be prepared. Let's see what it is and how it works.

Pet therapy: what it is and how it works

Pet therapy, as the word suggests, is therapy that can be carried out with animals. Specifically, it is a guided interaction between a person and a trained animal with the aim of helping the human to overcome health problems. Obviously, this is not an exclusive treatment, but it must always be combined with the already active health therapy. From dogs to horses, passing through cats and parrots: there are many furry friends who can become real therapists after a period of training with their guardians.

Generally, cats and dogs are mainly used for therapy with animals. The reason is very simple: they can be easily transported from one place to another. As for horses, however, there are some riding schools that organize pet therapy sessions. In any case, it should be emphasized that in most cases the type of four-legged friend is chosen by the specialist based on the disorder to be treated. According to recent studies, this type of treatment is effective for treating or alleviating various ailments / diseases: from autism to depression, through anxiety, cardiovascular disorders, cancer and leukemia. Not only that, it is also effective in rehabilitation after severe trauma.

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Pet therapy: the origin and the benefits

After having seen the pet therapy and the definition, let's see what it contributes to. The benefits of contact between humans and animals are many, such as:

  • improves fine motor skills and joint movement;
  • motivates to move or exercise;
  • increases self-esteem;
  • stimulates verbal communication and social interactions;
  • improves interactions with others.

It should be noted that animal therapy has been used for decades, but has its origins in the mists of time. The history of the ancient Egyptians is proof of this, but we find the confirmation in hagiography. Think, for example, of Saint Anthony, who has always been the protector of animals. If, on the other hand, we want to project ourselves into the present times, it is enough to see the effect that a pet has on an elderly person: it gives new vitality and relieves loneliness. As for the development of real pet therapy we have to go back to the seventies, in the United States. In Italy, however, it began to be practiced around 1990 .

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