Emma Benner is a student-athlete at Purdue University on the Cross Country and Track and Field teams. She has been very involved in the special needs community as a coach for Special Olympics Minnesota, volunteer with Challenged Athletes Foundation, and a volunteer with River Valley Riders Therapeutic Riding. She has had a lifelong love for dogs as a happy owner of many rescue dogs. Emma has volunteered with various humane societies and has loved helping find shelter dogs a loving and forever home. She says cannot wait to help grow and develop the Healing Companions organization.
If you have ever seen a dog in a hospital room, you have had an encounter with a therapy dog. Therapy dogs provide comfort and affection to people in institutions such as hospices, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, etc.
Ahava at the OPL Dogread
Most of us have experienced the calming effects of spending time with dogs, but therapy dogs take it to another level. A 2014 study showed that patientsthat worked with therapy dogs after a joint arthroplasty reported lower pain levels and higher rates of satisfaction with the hospital. A study in 2007 showed that therapy dogs lowered blood pressure and anxiety levels in patients hospitalized for heart failure.
There is a lot of confusion in the general public surrounding what constitutes an emotional support animal (ESA) and the regulations governing their owners’ rights. ESAs are companions that provide therapeutic benefits to individuals with disabling mental illnesses. The position of an emotional support animal is not reserved to dogs only, although we see them most commonly in this category.
If you’ve ever wondered why some dogs get to stay in the cabin on planes and some don’t, we’ve got your back with the Healing Companions’ Categories series. In the next couple of posts, we will be talking about the different types of support dogs, their training, roles, and legislation concerning each type. First, let’s talk about the ones we train here at Healing Companions, Inc.: Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSD’s.)