National Therapy Animal Day was created to recognize all of the therapy animals who partner with their human companions to bring comfort and healing to those in need. On National Therapy Animal Day communities can recognize and honor therapy animals; raise awareness and educate the public about the role therapy animals play in enhancing the health and well being of humans; and honor the thousands of dedicated handlers (the human members of therapy animal teams) who volunteer their time and compassion during visits.
With stay-at-home orders in effect around the world this past year, Pet Partners’ registered therapy animal teams provided virtual and alternative visits. These virtual and alternative visits provide a form of animal-related engagement (ARE), which is an initiative that supports the use of pet-related stimuli even when the physical presence of an animal may not be possible.
People are encouraged to show their support on social media by using #NationalTherapyAnimalDay and tagging Pet Partners. Registered therapy animal teams are encouraged to share photos of therapy animals on visits, whether in-person or virtual.
Pet Partners will also be hosting a Facebook Live event, with therapy animal teams, on April 30 so communities around the country can experience the benefits of the human-animal bond. Visit @petsforhealth on Facebook to register to attend.
While a majority of Pet Partners therapy animals are dogs, its Therapy Animal Program is open to cats, equines, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, birds, pigs, and even llamas and alpacas. There are characteristics that help identify potential therapy animals, which include a calm and friendly temperament, confidence, and the ability to follow basic commands. Animals should also enjoy receiving attention, being touched and meeting new people. Take the quiz on the Pet Partners website to determine if your animal might be suitable for therapy animal work.
“Therapy animals and their human handlers help people of all ages experience the incredible benefits of the human-animal bond,” said C. Annie Peters, president and CEO of Pet Partners. “It is an honor to recognize our hardworking teams today, and every day, who bring these healing benefits to their communities and improve lives through the power of animals.”