Pets as therapy (PAT dogs)
Stress can cause major physiological health problems and one’s mental health is as important as one’s physical health. Many guests at The Raw Retreat report on their health questionnaires that they are stressed and have emotional circumstances in their life. Many are either taking medication for depression or have taken it in the past.
Having an illness of any kind can indeed be stressful and many of our guests state that it is the health issue itself which is causing them the most stress and thereby having a debilitating effect on their health. It’s a vicious circle. Stress can contribute to illness and the illness causes stress, not only to the individual but also to those around them.
According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, pets can decrease your: blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels.
A clinical trial, conducted by researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in Israel and reported in The Journal of Community and Supportive Oncology, found that patients receiving intensive radiation therapy and chemotherapy for gastrointestinal, head or neck cancers experienced increases in emotional well-being and quality of life when they received visits from a certified therapy dog during the course of their treatment. Increases in emotional well-being were significant over the course of the animal-assisted visits.
The Raw Retreat trained and qualified PAT dog, Titus sadly died last year having reached the grand old age of 17. Our new puppy Merlot is still only 10 weeks old but we’re hoping he is going to play a major part in reducing the stress of any guest that would like to interact with him.