Pet Therapy

Topics: Healthcare, Medicine, Health care Pages: 5 (1425 words) Published: December 1, 2011
Pet Therapy 1

Does Pet Therapy Improve the Health of Those Who Use it?

English Composition

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This paper reviews the possible beneficial effects pet therapy can have on

individuals in both a hospital setting, as well as the every growing technique of home

health care. Pet Therapy is a fairly new and changing technique in the health care field. The hope of pet therapy is that during visits to the hospital it will help divert parent and children’s attention during painful procedures. Thus making the visit a more enjoyable and tolerant experience. It also examines the possible effect of lowering blood pressure on individuals who recently suffered a myocardial infarction or experience cardiovascular problems. Studies show that individuals living in a nursing home or monitored community of similar nature lack feeling of social status, suffer from psychological and physical ailments and feel the desire to be needed. This examines the possible steps that pet therapy can have in those areas of concern, as well as possibly improving not only the length of an individual’s life living in one of those settings, but also the quality of that life.

Health care is an extremely important and every growing field. Pet Therapy is the concept of bringing a particular pet whether it is dog, cat, or a different pet of interest into a health care setting. In hopes of both improving the condition of the patient, as well as improve the success of the particular visit or procedure taking place. The researcher feels this is a very important technique to research because any advances in the health care field should be seen as positive. If there is any way to improve the treatment and success

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of those treatments on patients, than they should be strongly researched and studied during clinical trials.
Pet Therapy is one of the highest growing experimental techniques used in today’s health care. Pet Therapy started off, as home experimentation to try and help those suffering from mental illness, yet today has grown into a supported utilization in health care settings. Hooker, Freeman, and Stewart claim that pet therapy’s history began in 1919 when Franklin K. Lane suggested the idea of using dogs with psychiatric patients at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. Hooker et. al (2002) claim the practice of pet therapy was used by the US military in 1942 as a diversion farm for recovering veterans. No data was collected during the first trials of pet therapy. This hurt the complete knowing of beneficial effects that pet therapy could have on an individual. In fact Hooker et. Al (2002) claim that the first documented observations of pet therapy didn’t occur until 1961, when Dr. Boris Levinson began to record his observations. Dr. Levinson was a child psychiatrist and was the first to record observations of using a dog as a tool to help with treatment of a child client. Levinson felt that the dog’s presence was a positive effect that would help allow the social defenses to soften, build a rapport, initiate therapy, and help focus in beginning communication. Yet not all clients had such a positive effect of the presence of a dog during sessions, some older clients guffawed at the idea, yet most were enthusiastic of the new technique used by Dr. Levinson.

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Hooker et. al (2002) claim that the first time animals were used in a hospital setting was by psychiatrists Sam and Elizabeth Corson in the early 1970s. These trials took place at the Ohio State University Psychiatric Hospital. These trials produced mixed results, which in turn prompted Sam and Elizabeth Corson to move their trials to a different setting.

Hooker et. al (2002) claim that in 1975 Sam and Elizabeth Corson moved the animal therapy project to a nursing home. They hoped that the animals would help the residents fulfill their desire to be needed. The trials were meet with great success. Hooker et. al (2002) claim that the Corsons...

References: Cullen L, Titler M, Drahozal R. Family and pet visitation in the critical care unit. Crit Care Nurse. 2003;23(5):62.
Flom, B. (2005). Counseling with pocket pets: Using small animals in elementary counseling programs. Professional School Counseling, 8(5) 469-473.
Hooker, S., Freeman, L. & Stewart, P. (2002). Pet therapy research: A historical review [Electronic version.] Holistic Nursing Practice, 17-23.
Kaminski, M., Pellino, T., & Wish, J. (2002). Play and pets: The physical and emotional impact of child-life and pet therapy on hospitalized children. Children’s Health Care, 31(4), 321-335.
McColgan, G., & Schofield, I. (2006). The importance of companion animal relationships in the lives of older people. Gerontological care and practice.
Souter, M.A., & Miller, M.D. (2007). Do Animal-Assisted Activities Effectively Treat Depression? A Meta-Analysis. Anthrozoos, 20(2), 167-180.
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