Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Who Needs A Stress Dog?? :-)

Yesterday, this article was sent to me by my best friend- she doesn't really read my blog very often, so she probably won't see this- but she deserves a shout-out because she is amazing! :). Anyways, we'll keep her anonymous, because the subject line of her email read: I Need A Stress Dog. Haha. This is a girl who isn't a huge fan of animals. When she met my dog for the first time, Bella ran across her face. Yes- ran across her face. I know that sounds impossible, but it happened and I think it traumatized her. Soo, I was a little intrigued by her email. 

The NY Times article that she emailed me highlights the current debate over whether therapy dogs should be allowed in court, to help teenagers and others deal with having to disclose difficult testimony. My personal interest in this article had more to do with the idea of therapy dogs than anything else, and my best friend raised a good point- that therapy dogs help reduce stress!! Rosie, the golden retriever therapy dog who is featured in this article (named after Rosa Parks!), has worked with emotionally troubled children in a residential setting as well as in the court system. Therapy dogs play a role in helping reduce stress and can be very therapeutic. I'm sorry to say that I wasn't always a believer- but I am now. A friend of mine in Raleigh has two therapy/service dogs (which she has told me are two very different and distinct things). Her pups are so sweet. The Delta Society is a great resource that she told me about, if you would like more details. Or, if you are interested in hearing more about therapy dogs or service dogs, you can contact my friend herself- Sara Rose Roman, who graciously agreed in spite of her busy schedule to answer any questions that she can. (Sara is the founder of Change the Triangle, and also just started the Raleigh Forum, an awesome local business with her sister, Cristina. Definitely worth taking the time to check out both of these--click on the names and you will be led to their websites. You can reach her at sararose.roman@gmail.com! Thanks Sara!) 

According to statistics from the APPA, we know that owning a pet can reduce one's blood pressure, and can lower stress levels and cholesterol levels, too! There is also a correlation in owning a dog and lower rates of heart disease. Pets also help fight depression and loneliness, especially amongst the senior citizen set. This isn't a public service announcement to run out and buy a dog- or any pet- but just an interesting story in the news that got me thinking about the therapeutic nature of animals. In the past, I wrote a post about equine therapy, which is therapeutic work done with horses. This is fairly common in many residential facilities that treat eating disorders. You can check out my post here for more info.

Speaking of dogs- look who stopped by my office the other day for a few minutes at lunch?! Bella (a boston terrier) was checking out my new polka dot chairs. I think she approves. Happy Tuesday, everyone!

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