18 December 2017

Paws for thought

There’s no denying that it’s almost impossible not to feel a little warmer inside when we see a cute little fluffy animal, the truth is that this feeling is actually ingrained into our biology. The biophilia hypothesis claims that humans have an innate desire to connect with other living things, especially those providing nonjudgmental support, none more so than our fluffy companions.

Tracey and Cheryl

Some corporations, colleges and nursing homes have even embraced pet therapy as a means of
stress reduction and to boost morale. Having puppy days, bring your pet to work day and bringing therapy dogs to campuses to help people de-stress.

Pet therapy can go beyond just reducing stress levels at work. The PAT (Pets as Therapy Foundation) have found that regular encounters with pets help to enhance the health and wellbeing of an individual, and provide a holistic approach to therapy. Studies have shown that interacting and playing with animals can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress inducing hormone cortisol, as well as lowering your blood pressure leading to improvements in your overall health. The benefits of pet therapy are endless!

Dogs

Two of our inspirational Newcastle Branch Healthcare Co-ordinators, Tracey and Cheryl have embraced this new therapy with open arms and paws. Going ‘above and beyond’ by visiting numerous care homes in the community in their free time, with their cute dogs Chicco and Odie. This fantastic four provide companionship and friendship not only those in their care, but to their wider community. Cheryl’s dog ‘Chicco’ is a 3 years old adorable chocolate lab who by his own admission is ‘slightly’ overweight. In the homes Chicco quickly becomes part of the furniture as he loves all the care and affection showered upon him by his adoring hosts.

Tracey’s pup ‘Odie’ is a black and white English Springer Spaniel, he too is very friendly and little
bit naughty, he loves going to the homes and thrives on the love and affection he gets form everyone there.

“We have visited about 6 home snow just in our own time, it’s a good feeling volunteering to go to the homes as it puts smiles on people’s faces and we also get to meet the service users that we are sending staff into to look after”.

Michelle Gorringe, Managing Director said, “I think it is fabulous that Tracey and Cheryl give up their free time to make a difference in people’s lives. You have helped to provide company to those in care and nursing homes many of whom don’t have many regular visitors.”

Although pet therapy is in its infancy and further scientific work needs to be carried out, enhancing the lives of people in our communities especially those suffering from debilitating mental and physical health conditions and loneliness can only be a good thing, and a thing to be proud of. You go girls!