Animal Assisted Therapy

Animal Assisted Therapy is beneficial in many ways.

Hospital/Health Facility Patients: Our volunteers see smiles from patients who rarely smile. They sometimes see a hand gently pet a dog -- a hand that hasn't moved in weeks. Language barriers don't exist -- everyone speaks "dog"! In addition, peer-reviewed studies show measurable improvements in stress hormone levels and blood pressure during and after a visit.

Hospital Staff: Visits by therapy dogs seem to improve morale and encourage positive feeling for those providing the care.

Visitors: Patients are often attended by anxious relatives and friends. The presence of a therapy dog can provide a welcome addition to the healing environment.

Students: Special needs students and even college students taking finals find themselves in high stress situations. Therapy dog visits help.

Community: Love On 4 Paws participates in community events. The intent is to introduce Animal Assisted Therapy to those who may be unaware of its benefits. Our dogs are there, too. They do most of the work.

Our Own Volunteers: None of our nearly 100 volunteers is paid, yet they must follow extensive rules and protocols, fight LA traffic, and contribute many hours each month. Why do they do it? Answer: they're all great people with lovable dogs who enjoy making a difference.

Studies of the Benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy

  1. Cole & 2007. A 12 minute visit with a therapy dog improves blood pressure and stress hormone levels, and reduces anxiety in patients hospitalized with heart failure. ANIMAL-ASSISTED THERAPY IN PATIENTS HOSPITALIZED WITH HEART FAILURE. Kathie M. Cole, RN, MN, CCRN, Anna Gawlinski, RN, DNSc, Neil Steers, PhD, and Jenny Kotlerman, MS. AJCC AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CRITICAL CARE, November 2007, Volume 16, No. 6.
  2. Marcus &, 2012. Therapy dog visits in an outpatient setting can provide significant reduction in pain and emotional distress for chronic pain patients. Therapy dog visits can also significantly improve emotional distress and feelings of well-being in family and friends accompanying patients to appointments and clinic staff. Animal-assisted therapy at an outpatient pain management clinic. Marcus DA1, Bernstein CD, Constantin JM, Kunkel FA, Breuer P, Hanlon RB. Pain Med. 2012 Jan;13(1):45-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2011.01294.x.
  3. Morrison 2007. Animal-assisted interventions, which include both animal-assisted activities and therapies, have historically been beneficial to human health. AAIs are modalities that offer an integrative approach to enhance the treatment of various health concerns. Health Benefits of Animal-Assisted Interventions, Michele L. Morrison. Complementary Health Practice Review 2007 12: 51. DOI: 10.1177/1533210107302397.
  4. Nimer & 2007. Overall, AAT was associated with moderate effect sizes in improving outcomes in four areas: Autism-spectrum symptoms, medical difficulties, behavioral problems, and emotional well-being. Animal-Assisted Therapy: A Meta-Analysis. Nimer, Janelle; Lundahl, Brad. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals, Volume 20, Number 3, September 2007, pp. 225-238(14)