For all those therapy animals out there who don’t get the recognition they deserve, Pet Partners has decided to recognize them with their own special day on April 30th. Launched a few years back, and with over forty years of improving human health and well-being through the human-animal bond, Pet Partners continues to lead the way in connecting people with the healing powers of animals.
What is a Therapy Dog?
Therapy Dogs are one of the most common therapy animals. They are canines trained specifically to provide affection, comfort and love to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, and are defined but not covered or protected under the Federal Housing Act or Americans with Disabilities act. While they do not have public access to all buildings, typically these dogs are granted rights by most public service facilities.
For those unclear as to the differences between ‘therapy,’ ‘service,’ and ‘working’ dogs, let me refer you to a primer I researched a few months ago, titled: A Support Dog By Any Other Name May Be A ‘Therapy’ Or ‘Service’ Or ‘Working’ Dog
The Day's Purpose
National Therapy Animal Day was created by Pet Partners to recognize all of the exceptional therapy animals who partner with their human companions to bring comfort and healing to those in need. Therapy animals and their handlers can be found helping folks of all ages in a variety of settings, as noted above.
Goals of National Therapy Animal Day:
- Recognize and honor therapy animals.
- Raise awareness and educate the public about the role therapy animals play in enhancing the health and well-being of humans.
- Honor the thousands of dedicated handlers (the human members of therapy animal teams) who volunteer their time and compassion during visits.
What can Pet Owners & Animal Advocates do?
There are a number of ways pet owners and animal advocates can become involved to celebrate this annual day of recognition:
* Join Pet Partners in raising awareness on National Therapy Animal Day by participating in Treats & Sweets Day during the month of April.
* Work with your local mayor or city manager to have April 30 officially proclaimed Therapy Animal Day in your hometown! Here is a sample proclamation.
* Contact your local media and suggest a “good news” story about National Therapy Animal Day and how therapy animals are making your community a healthier and happier place. Here is a letter to the editor template to help you get started.
* On April 30, show your support on social media by sharing Pet Partners posts, and by posting your own photos and stories of you with your favorite therapy animals. Here are the hashtags you can use on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks: #NationalTherapyAnimalDay and #petpartners
Have a happy and comforting National Therapy Animal Day!
Primary Source: Pet Partners