Imagine a medical treatment that lowers blood pressure and heart rate, reduces cortisol (the stress hormone), boosts levels of serotonin (the feel-good hormone), saves billions in healthcare costs for myriad health conditions, and even improves nutritional intake in patients with dementia. It sounds too good to be true – but these are just some of the benefits offered by pets. Dogs, cats, birds, and even fish can provide these health benefits, in addition to numerous social and emotional advantages such as providing companionship and laughter.
Pet Partners, a national nonprofit based in Bellevue, Washington, offers a Therapy Animal Program as well as extensive educational opportunities for volunteers and providers. They work with a range of individuals, including those living with dementia and those nearing the end of life. Learn more about the benefits of the human-animal bond (or even learn how you and your organization can get involved!) at Pet Partners’ website.
“Why Having a Pet (of Any Kind!) May Boost Your Mood and Keep Your Brain Healthy.” The Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials, 25 Oct. 2018. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-having-a-pet-of-any-kind-may-boost-your-mood-and-keep-your-brain-healthy/
Edwards NE, Beck AM. Animal-assisted therapy and Nutrition in Alzheimer’s disease (2002). West J Nurs Res 2002;24(6):697-712.