The Benefits of Animal Therapy

 Different animals, such as dogs, cats, or horses, all have one thing in common. They all provide humans with unconditional love and affection.

This trait makes our furry friends perfect for animal therapy. And it’s certainly no secret.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world—from people battling cancer to children who are afraid of going to the dentist—reap the benefits of animal therapy on a daily basis in order to live a happy and healthy life.

Would you or someone you know benefit from animal therapy?

Check out a few of the most common reasons people seek out the comfort of therapy animal companions.


If you’ve ever noticed that you feel better when you’re around your pet, you’re not the only one.

Many doctors and scientists claim that petting an animal releases “feel good” hormones into your bloodstream, which make you feel calm and relaxed. Many studies also claim that the action of petting an animal helps lower blood pressure.

These things combined help the body relax—something very important for someone who suffers from anxiety.

If you’re ever feeling anxious, and you have a pet in your home, trying spending a little time curled up on the couch with your furry buddy…it may help!

Warning: If you ever find yourself suffering from an anxiety attack and the comfort of an animal doesn’t help, contact a friend, family member, or your doctor immediately for help.


If you or a loved one has ever experienced some sort of trauma in life, you know how hard it can be to pick up the pieces and move forward.

Healing from trauma—whether it be physical, mental, or emotional—takes time, patience, and love.

The good news…most of our fluffy friends are experts at providing unconditional love and affection. Not to mention, as long as some petting is involved, most animals are willing to lie down with their owners (or the people they are visiting) and provide support as long as it’s needed.

There’s nothing like having a loyal buddy to stick with you when the times are rough.


When people fall into a depression due to illness, life-changing events, stress, etc., it can be very lonely.

Yet, despite the loneliness, it’s not common for people who are depressed to have the desire to socialize with others. Time spent in isolation can make depression worse.

It’s an awful cycle of feeling sad and lonely—a cycle no one should have to experience.

Therapy animals are great for people who are depressed because they open up a low-pressure outlet for socialization. They provide people with a “friend” during the times they need companionship most.

Even better—because animals require exercise and time outside—they can even help people get up and moving who would otherwise be confined to their bed or couch.

An Extra Set of “Paws”

Aside from emotional support, many people use therapy animals if they have a disability or are recovering from an illness, as an extra set of “paws” around the house.

Dogs can be trained to retrieve items, call people in case of emergencies, detect if an owner is going to have a seizure, and so much more.

Cats, with their keen sense of smell, can also be trained to sniff out danger and warn their owner if a medical emergency is about to occur.

Even horses—typically miniature horses—can be trained and used as “guide services” for the blind.

It’s truly incredible what our four-legged friends are capable of.

If you or someone you love enjoys animals and is in need of emotional or physical support, ask your doctor if a therapy animal would be appropriate!

Do you have a therapy pet? Tell us about your furbaby in the comments below!

How to Deal with Spring Fever in 5 Easy Steps

Craving the outdoors is a normal part of spring fever and anticipating warmer weather. Most of us have had spring fever at one time or another and we all remember the desire to escape the classroom or office and simply get outside.

It’s not always possible to stop what we’re doing and go out, so here are a few tips to minimize spring fever’s impact. If you feel your spring fever is severe, talk to your doctor.

Keep an eye on your general health.

Eat properly, sleep adequately, and address any health issues with your physician. Spring fever may be your body’s way of telling you it needs more vitamin D, which we get from sunlight, or more exercise.

Speaking of exercise, do it regularly.

Sometimes spring fever is more about the need to move than it is about being outside. Stay with your exercise program if you have one, and if you don’t, then start one—preferably outdoors!

Exercise keeps your energy stable, your hormones constant, and your moods even. It will give you a good excuse to get out, but even when you can’t play in the fresh air, moving your body will help reduce the spring fever itch.

Go outside when you can.

Take any opportunity to leave the house or the office and do what your body is telling you to do—enjoy the sunshine and lovely weather. You know you want to! Be careful you don’t overdo it, however. You can sunburn in March, and you don’t want to be late back to work or to other obligations.

When you’re outside, allow your body to soak up a little sun. Mere minutes (fewer than 10 if you burn easily) are all you need to help your body produce vitamin D.

Spend time in active environments.

If you can’t go outside while the sun is out, then go to the gym or take a long walk downtown, no matter what time of day. The hustle and bustle of being around others tames the anxious energy spring fever gives you, and moving around outside will help the craving you feel for release from the office or the classroom.

Give yourself something to look forward to.

When you’re at work or school and cannot go outside, be kind to yourself and allow a few luxuries during your day. For example, take a favorite food for lunch, or splurge and buy your favorite cold drink from the beverage cart or machine. If you give yourself little treats during the day, the urge to go outside and be free will go away for a little while.

5 Ways to Reduce Sudden Anxiety

Sudden anxiety can be frightening and challenging to deal with, and if you’ve ever had it happen, it’s something you hope never to repeat. Following are five ways to deal with a moment of sudden anxiety.

Don’t squelch the first twinges of anxiety, but try to identify their source.

If you feel severe or sudden anxiety begin, you’ll be tempted to ignore the feelings and keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t try to ignore or resist the feelings, but step into them. The moment the anxiety begins, ask yourself what’s happening, and see if you can identify what’s causing the sudden anxiety. If you can, fix the immediate problem; if not, get away from what you’re doing and find a quiet place until the anxiety goes away.

The sooner you can identify and remedy the immediate problem, the faster the anxiety will fade.


Many people tend to hold their breath when they have sudden anxiety, which makes the problem worse. Take a deep, cleansing breath in through your nose—you should feel your abdomen expand—and blow it out forcefully and completely through the mouth. Keep on deep breathing, and you’ll feel your anxiety lessen.

Let the anxiety wash over you.

If the first twinges develop into a full-blown bout of anxiety, let it happen. When you can accept the anxiety, it will go away much faster than if you try to fight it. Think of it as a rush of water that will envelop you for a moment and then fade away.

Don’t leap to conclusions.

Often, people having sudden anxiety let their minds wander and imagine all kinds of possible scenarios. They may think about someone dying, or losing everything they have, which of course increases the anxiety. Clear your mind, as much as you can, and don’t let your thoughts move to places or circumstances that frighten you.

Remember that it’s not forever.

Anxiety passes on its own, but you need to make sure you don’t cause yourself greater harm. Relax as much as you can. That is easier said than done, and if you have frequent anxiety, practicing these steps will become second nature over time.

Do you have any tips for dealing with sudden anxiety?