Animal-assisted therapy is being used in a wide variety of settings to help people with acute and chronic illnesses. This is based on the many physiological and psychological benefits documented in patients during interactions with animals. These include lowered blood pressure and heart rate, increased beta-endorphin levels, decreased stress levels, reduced feelings of anger, hostility, tension and anxiety, improved social functioning, and increased feelings of empowerment, trust, patience and self-esteem. Animal therapy is looked upon as both a learning and healing experience.
Chenny Troupe (chennytroupe.org)
Chenny Troupe is a Chicago-based network of volunteers and their certified therapy dogs who offer rehabilitative therapy to people with physical and emotional challenges. They have developed programs for teens with substance abuse problems at two drug rehabilitation centers in Chicago, Gateway Treatment Center and City Girls. Their web site describes their history and therapeutic programs.
Delta Society (deltasociety.org)
Delta Society is a leading international resource for the human-animal bond and its relationship to improving human health. Their web site provides information on animal-assisted therapy, a wide variety of articles on the health benefits for different groups of people, and training information.
Therapet Animal Assisted Therapy Foundation (therapet.com)
This non-profit organization works to facilitate the use of animals in the healing and rehabilitation of acute and chronically ill individuals. The web site discusses the nature and benefits of animal-assisted therapy, their training programs and seminars, and books and videos on the topic.
Equine therapy originally started as a program that used riding horses as a therapy for individuals with physical disabilities. It has since been found that people recovering from addiction can also benefit from interactions with horses. This type of outdoor experiential therapy combines the power of nature with the benefit of forming a relationship with an animal to help build confidence, trust, patience, and self-esteem.
Residential Treatment Centers offering Equine Therapy: