If you’ve ever owned a pet, you know how much joy they can bring, but they also come with many physical and mental health benefits. That’s why therapy animals have become so prominent. When we think of therapy animals, most of us will think of dogs, but there are so many other therapy animals out there!
You can’t talk about therapy animals without mentioning dogs. Dogs are some of the most popular therapy animals because they are so affectionate. Any dog can be a therapy dog, but lap dogs are better for seniors as they are small and can comfortably sit in laps.
We don’t always hear much about therapy cats, but they are getting more popular. One reason is because petting animals helps releases feel-good chemicals (like serotonin) in the brain, and cats rhythmic purring can help soothe individuals with dementia. Another benefit of cats is that they aren’t as boisterous as dogs, which may be better for certain people.
Horses have also started making an appearance as therapy animals. There are two ways horses can provide therapy, one way is at the organization’s locations, where people can engage in therapeutic activities, such as grooming, feeding and leading the horses (some organizations also have therapeutic riding). The other way horses can provide therapy is by actually going to a facility to visit patients. Now, you may be thinking that horses are much too big, but there are actually many organizations that specialize in equine therapy with miniature horses or Shetland ponies!
Monkeys are one of the therapy animals that we don’t normally hear much about. It may sound strange, but monkey are small, intelligent, dexterous and very affectionate. Monkeys don’t only provide company, they can actually help with tasks. Capuchin monkeys are perfect for this job as they have very dexterous hands and great fine motor skills.
The list doesn’t stop there; there are so many other animals, like alpacas and sheep, that can also be therapy animals!