For many hospital patients and residents of assisted-living facilities, medicine is not always what’s needed most. Sometimes, they just need something to smile about. And that’s where animal-assisted therapy can be a real benefit.
Animal-assisted therapy, also known as pet therapy, is recognized by those in the medical profession as a “growing field that uses dogs or other animals to help people recover from or better cope with health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and mental health disorders,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
Linda Laun saw the benefits of pet therapy first-hand when she was a little girl and her ailing grandmother snuck out of the hospital to see her dog, Patsy, in the parking lot. She said that even though her grandmother was in great pain, her face lit up at the sight of her dog.
“When she was interacting with Patsy, she had a tiny piece of tranquility. It made a huge difference in her life,” Laun said in a Passport-sponsored article on Insider Louisville. “I recognized the impact dogs can have on people. When I had time, I got more involved and started a therapy program.”
Today, Laun heads Wonderful Animals Giving Support (WAGS) Pet Therapy of Kentucky, Inc., which utilizes the human-animal bond to bring smiles to the faces of those who are mentally, physically or emotionally challenged. To hear more from Laun, please click here. For more information about pet therapy, please click here.