There are proven physical and mental health benefits to being around animals. Extensive research has shown that the presence of an animal can have a positive impact on physiology and psychology and so help to reduce stress levels. Stroking a pet for example, has been shown to lower blood pressure and the heart rate, bringing a calming effect. In this way, pets may be used to provide emotional support as well as provide a service.
During 2018 we were having regular visits from a registered therapy dog ‘Olive’, from the Pets As Therapy (PAT) READ 2 DOGS programme. Olive, the beautiful black Labrador, was working with many of our children for therapeutic purposes.
Children worked with her to increase their confidence and enjoyment of reading, an initiative which proved particularly successful.
Olive’s family have moved abroad over the summer holidays however we have managed to secure another PAT Dog, ‘Noah, the Tibetan Terrier’ who visits us every Monday with his owner Brenda.