We’ve become accustomed to seeing eye dogs, but did you know there are also hearing alert dogs, seizure alert dogs, autism service dog, and medical alert dogs that will alert for migraines, diabetes and even heart issues?
For years, we’ve had pet dogs and cats and other animals for our enjoyment, pleasure, and even peace of mind. We feel good when we’re romping with our dog, laughing at our cat’s antics, relaxing while petting a purring cat. So in a way we’ve all enjoyed therapy aspects of our pets. I mean, who can’t use a little laughter therapy—relaxation therapy. And who hasn’t felt the sweet comfort of a beloved pet during a time of sadness? Animals seem to know when we need a little bit of quiet attention—the gentle touch of a paw, a chin resting on your foot or lap. If you’ve had pets, you’ve experienced this.
In recent years, however, all sorts of animals are being used as therapy pets—to help their owners get through the day—to help them maintain a healthy emotional balance. There are even agencies that will register your pet as a therapy animal and some of them are bogus. I think I would be suspect of any online program that would issue you a letter of registration simply after you’ve filled out a brief questionnaire regarding the nature of your emotional need and the name of your pet.
I notice there are many such opportunities online. If you’re considering purchasing a support animal or validating your pet as a support animal, you might be interested in some of the regulations. Here’s a site that responds to many questions about service dogs, for example.
There are agencies and organizations that oversee the extensive training of dogs to be used as service animals. At the end of rigorous training, the dog either passes or doesn’t. Not all dogs make it to graduation. Some simply become wonderful pets. However, there’s no training required for a pet to become emotional support animal. But you do need a doctor’s okay in order to get one registered. Stay tuned this week, I’m going to bring more information about therapy pets and service animals.