Pet Therapy at Willow Bend

Another facility incorporating pet therapy is Willow Bend Nursing & Rehabilitation, which has similar guidelines and training requirements for its therapy dogs. At Willow Bend, pet therapy consists of supervised visitations in rooms, in hallways and in the gym. The goal of this animal-assisted therapy is to improve residents’ social, emotional, physical and cognitive functioning. The handler’s course for AAT must be completed by at least one staff member, who in turn trains additional staff.

Advocates of the program indicate that AAT can be useful for increasing motivation among participants. Therapists who approach patients with a dog may be viewed as less threatening, thereby increasing rapport between patients and therapists.