The assistive power of therapy pets by Dorothy Jarvis-Lee
At ubu we strive to enable the people we serve to lead more independent lives and to be able to take part in their surrounding communities, no matter what their ability or background. For many of us, coming home from work or from our day’s activities means time to relax and enjoy some calm after a long day. Having a pet’s unconditional love and companionship is wonderful because it can also uplift and motivate us to be more active and caring.
Therapy pets such as my own dog, Chutzpah, genuinely enhances my health and wellbeing. They can enable and support people with daily tasks and provide wonderful ‘friendship’ and company when we’re alone or out in the community. Organisations like Pets As Therapy (PAT) can assess an animals behaviour and help to train and acknowledge their ability to offer therapeutic support. I’ve seen some fantastic results in the ways our therapy dogs are helping to improve the quality of the lives of people we serve. We’ve witnessed some powerful engagement by and with Chutzpah and the other therapy dogs, Jack, Maisie and Milo who work at our Hub office in Harrogate and when we are out and about visiting and meeting people.
These naturally generous beings are not just friends, family members or protectors enhancing companionship, they can and do assist people who have disabilities and health difficulties like dementia or who are living with autism and loneliness, by helping to improve and generate confidence and wellbeing in both. Actually it can be both inspiring and beautiful to witness the interactions these animals have with people we serve.
The therapy dogs at ubu are increasingly becoming a necessity in many of our services because their work supports the unequalled enabling provided by ubu team members. They enable those we serve to gain greater independence by helping them with simple tasks, creating happiness, joy and companionship just by being available to touch, stroke and pet. Perhaps best of all, they give people an opportunity to wind down and relax when they are feeling anxious or upset.
Every person and their needs and behaviours are different. What a dull world it would be if that weren’t true