“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.”

– George Eliot

If you have a pet, chances are you understand how therapeutic it is to have a furry companion around. Whether you prefer cats or dogs, all pets can be your best friend. You may even find that you like spending time with your pet more than with your human friends. Whatever the case may be, animals universally have the capacity to heal and prove to be therapeutic companions. Therapy animals are used to treat or lighten a variety of ailments, from addiction to mental health to brain disorders and more.

At St. John’s Recovery Place, we are lucky to have a handsome therapy dog named Gus who makes weekly visits to our facility. Gus always loves to play and immediately lightens any room he enters. We also provide Equine Therapy at a farm close to the property where our clients can enjoy the horses’ companionship. There’s plenty of scientific evidence to back up what all pet owners know to be true: animals are therapeutic furry friends that do much more than play, sleep and look cute.

Animal-assisted therapy is defined as an alternative or complementary type of therapy utilizing animals as a form of treatment, and falls into the realm of Animal-Assisted Interventions. This type of therapy positively influences both physical and mental health. The therapeutic potential of the relationships between animals and humans was first recognized and explored in the 1800s by Florence Nightingale. As early as the 1930s, Sigmund Freud was known to bring his dog to therapy sessions, and by the 1980s the first programs to certify animals for therapy were developed.

For mental health, animal-assisted therapy is great for reducing stress and anxiety, increasing mental stimulation, and reducing loneliness. For physical health, it lowers blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health and releases a variety of positive hormones such as Phenylethylamine. Some common animals used for this practice are dogs, horses, cats, birds, guinea pigs and rabbits.

SJRP utilizes Canine Therapy and Equine Therapy for our Animal-Assisted Treatment Programs. According to American Addiction Centers, Canine Therapy helps with heightened problem-solving and communication skills, as well as more positive attitude and motivation. Furthermore, Equine Therapy helps provide insight into interpersonal relationships and the growth of trust and ability to learn from nonverbal cues.

If you currently are a petowner, had a beloved childhood pet, or have had some sort of interaction with an animal that allowed you to have a safe, positive encounter, consider the positive impact this animal has on you. It’s no secret that animals and humans are meant to live and work in harmony, and can establish loving and trusting relationships, just like friends or kin of their own species.

For more information about the resources and therapies we have to offer or general admissions inquiries, be sure to give us a call today at 833-397-3422. To stay updated on all news regarding our beautiful facility, follow us on social media today!