As the proverb goes, a dog is man’s closest companion. This prompted the conviction that canines could offer support, affection, company, and comfort to individuals who were experiencing a troublesome time or who feel forlorn. Thus, “therapy dogs” began to be given to individuals living in nursing homes, retirement homes, and even in medical facilities. They are now additionally present in certain schools and other educational institutions to help youngsters with learning difficulties.

History of Therapy Animals

Animals have helped offer remedial alleviation to sick people for a considerable length of time – records from back in the late 1700s portray how Quakers in England utilized them to help those experiencing dysfunctional behavior. The Quakers operated an institution for the intellectually sick and believed that association with animals assisted with improving the overall emotional well-being of those who were ill.

The First Therapy Dog

It is fascinating to take note of the fact that the first-ever therapy dog existed during the time of World War II. Corporal William Wynne had discovered an abandoned female Yorkshire Terrier. He named her Smoky and began to take care of her. In time, Smoky became friendly with him, too, in her particular manner. She used to go with Wynne on battle missions, where she assisted with keeping him in high spirits and providing him comfort during such a troublesome time.

Afterward, Wynne was hospitalized because of a jungle illness. Wynne’s associates took Smoky for cheering him up. Smoky figured out how to engage Wynne as well as a few other injured troopers who were being treated at the emergency clinic. Having seen her positive effect, the commanding officer, Dr. Charles Mayo, allowed Smoky to have a tour of the medical clinic. Accordingly, Smoky turned into the first therapy dog in the history of mankind.

Establishment of ‘Therapy Dogs International’

During the 1970s, dogs started to be utilized in a progressively deliberate manner to give alleviation to those recuperating in the hospital. An attendant from the United States named Elaine Smith, who at the time was working in England, saw that the presence of a Golden Retriever owned by the hospital chaplain helped several patients stay calm and composed. At the point when she got back in 1976, Smith kept on working with dogs and established the principal national register of therapy dogs in the United States of America. Therapy Dogs International at first enrolled the assistance of six canines, and by 2012 had greatly extended, and almost 25,000 dogs were enlisted with the association.

Association with a therapy dog can help lift an individual’s spirits – for which there are genuine physiological clarifications. Studies have demonstrated that when we stroke a pet, for example, a feline or pooch, both our heart rate and blood pressure stabilize – which is valuable for individuals who experience the ill effects of stress. Other gainful physiological changes can happen during contact with a therapy dog – the body discharges hormones and neurotransmitters that improve the state of mind. Dopamine is one of them, and also the hormone oxytocin – serotonin may likewise be boosted, in addition to endorphins. All of these can ensure a definite feeling of well-being and improve the overall physical and mental health of an individual.