In the literature of journal articles, news stories and websites, animals are often
reported to have the ability to improve the well-being of people. Components of wellbeing
that include improved interpersonal and communication skills, sense of purpose and
motivation, fine motor skills, strength and balance, self-esteem, and self-worth plus a
reduction in anxiety and depression, feelings of loneliness and isolation.
My role as a speech language pathologist (SLP) is to assist people communicate as
only too often communication, and ultimately conversation, is elusive and challenging for
many people with disabilities. Being unable to communicate or being incommunicado, is
arguably the worse form of human torture. Therefore, if a partnership of handler with a
trained and consenting therapy dog can facilitate even a small reduction of the frustration,
anxiety and sadness that having a communication impairment brings with it, then the process
needs to be explored.
This article aims to discuss some of the features of my work in the context of therapydog interventions.
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