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Pets As Therapy

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  • Michael Meredith
    Contact with pets has proven therapeutic value in: * Lowering blood pressure and heart rate * Easing depression and loneliness * Physiotherapy/rehabilitation
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 8, 2004
      Contact with pets has proven therapeutic value in:

      * Lowering blood pressure and heart rate
      * Easing depression and loneliness
      * Physiotherapy/rehabilitation of people with physical disabilities
      * Encouraging regular gentle exercise

      Sick patients often feel isolated and even the most withdrawn seem to
      open up and let the barriers down when their regular Pets as Therapy
      (PAT) visiting dog is around. These dogs bring everyday life closer
      and with it all the happy associations for them of home comforts. The
      constant companionship of an undemanding animal, that gives
      unconditional love, is often one of the most missed aspects of their
      lives. PAT was formed to help make this loss more bearable and speed

      PAT is a UK national charity founded in l983. It is unique in that it
      provides therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, nursing and care
      homes, special needs schools and a variety of other venues by
      volunteers with their own friendly, temperament tested and vaccinated
      dogs and cats. 2004 saw for the first time the introduction of
      homoeopathically protected dogs into the scheme.

      Since it's beginning over 18,000 dogs have been registered into the
      PAT scheme. Every year some of these retire and new dogs, having
      first been examined and passed on health, temperament, suitability
      and stability grounds, join Pets As Therapy.

      Today there are currently around 3,500 active PAT visiting dogs and
      90 cats at work in the UK. Every week these calm friendly dogs and
      cats give more than 10,000 people, both young and old, the pleasure
      and chance to cuddle and talk to them. The bedsides that are visited
      each year number a staggering half million.

      Once new visitors have passed their dogs through the assessment and
      health check procedure and each has come forward with two character
      references, their local Area Co-ordinator or allocated contact waits
      to be contacted to activate the visiting process. This hard working
      team of volunteers throughout the UK keep in regular contact with a
      designated number of PAT dogs and cats and their owners.

      PAT are in the process of setting in place research to further
      validate the very real health benefits these animals bring daily into
      the lives of those people who are ill or disabled.

      Membership of PAT automatically gives full public liability insurance
      cover up to £5,000,000 to each individual visiting pet while on
      Charity business. This is a legal necessity and also a comfort factor
      for both the visitor and the visited. As a bonus, the PAT visitor and
      their pet are covered for the same amount while not on PAT business

      All PAT dogs and cats are required to pass an assessment to check
      their temperament by PAT accredited assessors, qualified vets and vet
      nurses and to be fully vaccinated or homoeopathically protected,
      wormed and protected against fleas. Records are required by the
      charity and each volunteer is bound to send copies when boosters have
      been given

      Each PAT dog has an identifying tag on its collar and many of them
      wear a distinctive yellow coat. The owner has a photo ID badge which
      is worn for security at all times when visiting. Pets As Therapy have
      introduced a photo ID membership tag for its PAT Dogs & Cats as well.
      As the largest charity of its type in Europe, Pets As Therapy
      recognises that security needs are paramount and that busy
      authorities and on duty staff alike, need the reassurance of a
      therapeutic supportive service which is problem free.

      More about Pets As Therapy at: http://www.petsastherapy.org
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