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Therapy Animals
Therapy Animals

Therapy animals are not the same as "service animals."  They are animals that are used to visit hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, schools, and other facilities.

A therapy dog can be paired with an able-bodied person who takes the dog into hospitals and nursing homes to visit patients, to help them feel better, and to assist with their physical therapy, such as helping with motor skills.  Therapy dogs perform their tasks by invitation. 

Dogs make great therapy animals, because they are so interactive with humans.  Therapy dogs provide comfort and bring smiles to patients.  They provide unconditional love, they are warm and fuzzy, and people love to have dogs with them in time of need.

“You don’t have to be a doctor to help the healing process.  Take a dog into a patient’s room.  Children light up and play with him like a stuffed animal, and their mind is a million miles away from where they are and what they are going through.  When patients interact with a dog, their blood pressure drops, and it takes their mind away from their pain and discomfort.  The connection of pets to patient care and therapy has no downsides.  It is the only treatment that is like that in all of medicine."  (Dr. Mark Morocco, M.D., Animal-Patient Therapy, Dr. Oz Show, July 9, 2013)

Research has proven what pets can do for us –
•    Cortisol and stress hormones plummet, relaxing the mind and the body.
•    When you pet a dog, it can lower your blood pressure and your cholesterol.
•    Patients who experience connections with animals, always improve.  

What You Can Do
  • Is your pet a good one to provide therapy?  It really comes down to temperament.  They have to have a calm temperament, like humans, be interested in strangers, and be able to remain calm in the occasional chaos of a hospital.  
  • If you want to help an organization which uses animals as therapy, contact one of the pet therapy organizations in Spokane County. 
Local Organizations
Additional Resources
Lynn Dee's Dog Training
2704 N. Colville Road
(Off Government Way, by SFCC)
Spokane, WA  99224
Debbie Wing
(509) 838-0596
E-Mail: dlynndees@aol.com
Contact for information on training or acquiring a service dog to help mediate a disability. They also provide Pet Partner Handler Workshops and Therapy Dog Skills Training classes for those who wish to become Registered Pet Partners teams.

Rehab Without Walls
(North Spokane, near Deer Park)
Horse therapy - Comprehensive interdisciplinary rehab following traumatic events for children and adults.  Solutions for people with neurorehabilitation of traumatic brain injury (TBI), acquired brain injury (ABI), spinal cord injury (SCI), and stroke (CVA).  Hippotherapy offers tremendous motivation for traumatic spinal cord injury, including brain-injured soldiers. This unique therapy pairs specially trained horses with patients, to increase hip and pelvic range of motion, strengthen the trunk, and provide valuable, effective sensory integration, among other benefits.offers a program for children with disabilities to utilize a treatment where equine movement improves neuromuscular function.

Shriners Hospitals for Children    
This popular program offered by the recreation therapy department is one way to make your hospital stay seem a little bit more like home.  Unfortunately, due to the stringent screening requirements, personal pets are not allowed on hospital premises.