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The Benefits of Pets: Caring for a Pet Can Make You Happier, Healthier

The Benefits of Pets: Caring for a Pet Can Make You Happier, Healthier | Animal-Assisted Therapy - Aspect2 |
Pets are great mood boosters, but it's important to choose an animal that fits your needs and lifestyle. Learn how.
Jen Navari's comment, March 13, 2013 2:09 PM
Our pets do alot more then we think they do. Having a pet has show to increase exercise, reduce anxiety, provide companionship, help you meet new people, stress relief. Studies have shown that pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression, have lower blood pressure, calm and relax you, have lower levels of cholesterol (which can cause heart disease),and heart attack patients have been shown to live longer.
Jen Navari's comment, March 13, 2013 2:12 PM
Pets can help people with Alzhelmer's disease or dementia. Having a pet in there home suffer less stress and have fewer outbursts. The pets also sooth them and make them feel relaxed.
Jen Navari's comment, March 13, 2013 2:14 PM
Pets have also helped children with autism. Studies have shown that they help them regulate stress and calm themselves. Playing them the animal has shown to help them stay alert and more attentive.
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 Kellen Von Houser, M.A., LPCSTherapyWorks
P. O. Box 1707
Manchaca, Texas 78652
Phone: (512) 916-9832
Fax: (512) 916-9832 


Hello, My name is Jen Navari. I am a senior at Penn Trafford high school. As a senior we have a senior research project, this project entitles us to research any subject we chose and conduct a 15 minute presentation. The topic I chose was animal - assisted therapy and the animal human bond. I was hoping I could ask you a few questions. 


In your opinion, how important is the animal human bond?


Crucial.  I think humans like to pretend we aren't animals, but we are.  When we cut ourselves off from animals we cut ourselves off from an innate part of ourselves.  Animals keep us connected to the Earth and to each other.An example:I've worked with serious, long-term drug addicts who have come in off the streets and they have no idea how to act in the world without being high or stoned.  So they go to the city animal shelter, rescue a dog and join a dog club.  The rescued dog teaches them how to socialize and is their ticket back to humanity.  They stand with the other dog owners, in comfortable clothes and a defined topic of conversation.  And what dog owner cannot talk about their dog!  I had one man who developed a terminal illness.  His dog club friends and his dog walked with him through the end of his life.Another example:The organization I now work for works with children who have been removed from their homes by Child Protective Services.  Because of the violence and neglect they have experienced at the hands of their parents they trust no one.  They have faith in nothing.  Until they meet the horses.  Because they weren't hurt by a horses they open up and trust the horse.  By having faith in the horse they are able to attach to something in this world.  And by attaching to and having faith in one single animal they open up the possibility of finding their way back to trusting in humanity.


How do you think an animal can change our view of the world?


By being worthy of our trust and our compassion. By reminding us that what is important is not the latest car or gadget but our relationships with each other and how we treat each other.I also think they can challenge us to be better.  Humans are so violent and we war with each other and mistreat each other over such silly things like skin color.  Animals do not care about such things.  (A black cat and a white cat will get along great and have litters of black and white kittens!)   Not only do they not discriminate against others of their own species they get along with members of other species.  We had a chickens who raised an orphaned baby duck.  (The poor chicken mother almost had a heart attack when her baby "chick" jumped in the pond to swim!!!)  We currently have an orphaned sheep who is being cared for by a bunch of dogs.  She stays with them to protect her and they allow her to travel with them.  And dogs are predators and sheep are prey.  They shouldn't get along, but they do. We have a lot to learn...


Do you think animals have a positive or negative impact on our lives? Why?


I can only imagine an animal having a negative impact on us when we abuse them and they learn to act like us.  I see nothing but positive outcomes when we approach and interact with animals with respect and empathy.


When people are around animals so you see a change in their behavior? If so, why do you think there is a change? 


Absolutely!  There are too many reasons to list here, but one of the big ones is because we drop our facades.  We don't have to pretend to be someone different with animals.  They don't care what kind of car we drive or whether we are wearing the right brand of jeans.  They don't care what race, religion or sexual orientation we are.  They only care how we treat them.  And that allows us to be authentic, something we don't usually get to be with each other.  This is especially true with horses.  If you try to be phony with them they get nervous and will want to get away from you.  They challenge us to get real.


How do you know if an animal is suitable for therapy work? 


Some horses are drawn to humans and some could care less.  Because we are doing psychotherapy with the horses we don't ride them.  The kids stand on the ground and interact with them as individual "people".  Therefore, they the horse has to be interested in humans and want to interact with us. 


Do you think an animal can help someone learn something again? As in walk or move an arm. If so why do you think this is possible? 


Hmmmm, I'm not sure since we don't deal with physical disabilities.  I think that would depend on the amount of damage done by disease or injury.


Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you can answer my questions.


I hope I could too!!!  Let me know if I didn't.Kellen


Thanks again,

Jen Navari


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How Pet Therapy Can Help Autism - Autism Center - Everyday Health

How Pet Therapy Can Help Autism - Autism Center - Everyday Health | Animal-Assisted Therapy - Aspect2 |
dolphins to dogs, animals can be therapeutic for children with autism. Learn about the benefits of pet therapy for autism at Everyday Health.
Jen Navari's comment, March 12, 2013 10:22 AM
Studies have shown that the interaction with animals has a positive impact on children who have autism. They have seen both physical and emotional improvements in the children. The animals interact with them in ways that humans are not able to. The children relate to the animals in ways that they can not relate to their peers. Bringing an animals into the life of an autistic child has many positive impacts. Studies have shown an improvement in their strength, coordination, and physical abilities. Its as simple as bringing a pet into your home. Or even taking horse riding lessons and swimming with dolphins.
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What Is Autism?

What Is Autism? | Animal-Assisted Therapy - Aspect2 |
What Is Autism? What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are ch
Jen Navari's comment, March 13, 2013 2:19 PM
Autism is a mental condition that normally starts in early childhood. Caused by neurological disorder that effects normal brain function. Where there is difficulty communicating and forming relationships.
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Teacher's Comments

Senior Research Project

Tami Yaklich's comment, March 21, 2013 11:53 PM
Excellent interview results and good job finding strong info to support thesis
Tami Yaklich's comment, March 21, 2013 11:53 PM
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27 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health – WebMD Slideshow

WebMD illustrates how pets can improve your health.
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Fur, smiles and tears | House Organ | Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Fur, smiles and tears | House Organ | Vanderbilt University Medical Center | Animal-Assisted Therapy - Aspect2 |
Fur, smiles and tears
Jen Navari's comment, March 13, 2013 10:24 AM
Becoming a therapy animal team is a long process. It is a long process that takes three months and an evaluation of each teams skills. They are required to know 20 different exercises, like navigating crowds and role-playing situations such as a child pulling the dogs ears or tail. She says that animals can tell the energy a child has. She can do what needs to be done with out even saying a word.
Jen Navari's comment, March 13, 2013 10:29 AM
Being a handler is also an important part of a animal therapy team. They need to know there dog inside and out. When hes calm or when they feel uncomfortable. While visiting with a patient they have to be able to communicate and get them interested in the animal.
Jen Navari's comment, March 13, 2013 1:59 PM
Eli the Weimaraner only has three legs. He connects with patients because he kinda is one too. They feel if he's okay they'll be okay too.
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Horse Boy World - The Method

Horse Boy World - The Method | Animal-Assisted Therapy - Aspect2 |
Jen Navari's comment, March 12, 2013 2:13 PM
Rupert Isaacson's son was born with Autism. Throughout the years working with his sons disorder, he has developed a 15 step method to help with autism. 1) Self-Compassion: Congratulate yourself for taking this step toward helping your child. 2) Environment & Equipment: Best not to start out directly with the horse. Better to let your child let out all his cooped up energy. Let them play with other toys as in bouncing on a trampoline. 3) Sensory work: Have a parents do the activity first so the child sees that it is a safe place to be. 4) Back-Riding: Riding a horse with a child is an effective way for gaining communication. You get to hold your child and talk to them in the ear other than straight to their face. The horses movement can actually open up learning receptors in the brain. 5) The use of Tricks: Giving a horse a command to do a trick can encourage a child to speak. 6) The use of extreme collection and long lines: The slow movement of the horse creates a rocking action, moving the body as if the horse was actually trotting or cantering. The kids respond to these movements with great joy, sometimes resulting in speech. 7) Perspective Taking/Theory of Mind/Rule Based Games: Learning what someone or some animal could be saying by body language. 8) Academics on Horseback: Teaching a child while on a horse. Ex. He taught Rowen his fractions on horseback by taking him in a round pen and going 1/2 the way around and then 3/4, and so on. 9) Bring the horse to the child not the child to the horse: Indirect approach. Ex. If a child is bouncing on a trampoline, bring the horse to the trampoline and let the kid come to the horse out of curiousness. 10) Communicate Don't Teach: Looking for ideas to produce communication. 11) Start where the child is not where you want him to be: Don't push your child to do something he may not be interested in doing. Ex. If their not interested in the horse, don't force him to be around them. 12) Involve the Family: If they are not directly involved the child doesn't have someone one familiar to relate to and may not open up to others during the activity. 13) Involve the therapists: Can help to get further with the child in regular therapy sessions. 14) Being generally Creative: Try to keep an open mind about everything. 15) Humor: Laughter is commnunication
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What is Animal Assisted Therapy?

What is Animal Assisted Therapy? | Animal-Assisted Therapy - Aspect2 |
Equine assisted psychotherapy is a type of animal assisted therapy, a field of mental health that recognizes the bond between animals and humans and the potential for emotional healing that can occur when a relationship is formed between the two...
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Miniature horses, major hopes | Wichita Eagle

Miniature horses, major hopes | Wichita Eagle | Animal-Assisted Therapy - Aspect2 |
The aim is to have them visit schools, hospitals and nursing homes once they're approved by a national organization called Pet Partners, which will evaluate them for so-called animal-assisted activities and therapy.
Jen Navari's comment, March 11, 2013 1:59 PM
Three miniature ponys named Turnabout, Mystery, and Lunar are being trained for therapy work. They have to learn to be still and quiet, walk on command and be tolerable to any little thing a child may do. Once trained the ponys will work with children who have disabilities. They are meant to be a distractions for the patient. Letting them focus on the pony and not on their past problems.