Furry Healers

Therapy dogs bring joy and laughter, even if just for a short time, to take a person’s mind of their personal problems, aches, pains and worries.
Words by Sandy Lindsey | February 23, 2022 | Lifestyle

Petting a therapy dog’s soft, comforting fur releases olycontin, a.k.a the “love hormone.” “Dogs give lots of affection which can help reduce pain, improve mood and reduce anxiety,” says Alexandra Ramos, who is passionate about animals and has spent the past decade working in animal-assisted therapy with children. “They help people live a healthier life by decreasing psychological distress, fatigue and acting as a great icebreaker in getting people to share their emotions and stories with others.” Therapy dogs have special temperament and characteristics — trustworthy, social, balanced, docile, reliable, safe, healthy and obedient — that let them be part of in-hospital visits. Although there are some breeds more predisposed than others, the reality is any canine with the right characteristics can become a Certified Therapy Dog. “The dogs have given me so much throughout the years that I could not live without them,” she says. “They are the engine of my life.”;