Animals can bring joy to humans in a way that is almost difficult to quantify. Companionship, loyalty, love, and affection – these are some of the affirming words one can describe about the experience of having a pet. Taking care of a pet and pet therapy do not only help in the management and treatment of various ailments, but they also help people with disability enjoy different aspects of life.
What is Pet Therapy?
Pet therapy can also be referred to as animal-assisted therapy (AAT) or animal-assisted activities (AAA). While AAT is a more formal approach, which is designed to help participants reach their goals, AAA is more casual and it involves a lot of animal play.
Based on research, pet therapy helps with the release of endorphins (the “feel-good” chemicals produced by the brain). The release of endorphins can be experienced via various ways such as eating delicious food.
Pet therapy’s effect on humans is not meant to be experienced just for a short period of time. This can also produce a range of long-term positive outcomes, such as:
- Help improve cognitive function
- Lower blood pressure
- Build better skills for human interactions
- Reduce agitation and improve mood
- Reduce depression and anxiety
- Assist in the learning of skills to nurture others
- Help avoid the feeling of loneliness or boredom
- Assist and build mobility
- Build self-esteem
- Reduce stress
Pet therapy isn’t just about dogs
The animals involved in pet therapy are known as “assistance animals.” Pet therapy is ultimately dependent on the person’s needs, which doesn’t necessarily just involve dogs. Some people receive therapy from a variety of animals, which can include: fish, pigs, snakes and other reptiles, cats, ponies, horses and birds.
To understand how interaction with animals can be therapeutic, we hope you’ll enjoy this beautiful clip:
Does my NDIS plan cover pet therapy?
As with other supports, pet therapy is funded by the NDIS, as long as it helps a person achieve his/her goals. The NDIS has a brief guide on their website that can help point you to the right direction.
If you are looking for a provider that offers pet therapy, we suggest that you speak with your Support Coordinator to help with your search. If you would like to start your search online, you can also use our disability support finder tool, or you can have a look at the NDIS’ registered provider search tool.
The Assistance Dogs Australia website may also be a good resource for you to begin your research.
Whether you are looking to engage pet therapy as one of your supports or not, we’re sure that you will agree that animals can be good life companions. The positive influence animals have on us is nothing short of incredible.
NDSP Plan Managers is a NDIS registered provider specialising in NDIS Plan Management. If you are a NDIS Participant looking for the right Plan Manager, CLICK HERE to get in touch with our friendly team today.