April is "Service/Therapy Animals" month. Dogs (and other animals) that have been trained to provide comfort to people in hospitals, retirement and nursing homes, mental institutions, schools and stressful situations (such as disaster areas) have been increasingly in demand. Healthcare professionals have long documented the therapeutic effect of animal companionship through the years, including relieving stress, lowering blood pressure and raising spirits. Dogs have been used with great success to help children overcome speech disorders, emotional stress and physical disabilities.
For those of us who love dogs (and other pets), it’s enough that our dogs greet us when we come home each day as if we are all that matter to them (and we pretty much are!). But there are real scientific benefits to owning pets.
According to Science Daily, research shows that pet ownership is probably associated with a reduction in heart disease risk factors. Dog ownership, in particular, may help to reduce cardiovascular risk since people with dogs may engage in more physical activity since they walk their dogs regularly.
Since the 1970s, research has shown that owning pets most likely lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and creates a lower incidence of obesity.
Science Daily has also pointed out that pets can have a positive effect on the body’s reaction to stress.
There are a few programs providing dogs to military veterans. One has military vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan helping to train shelter dogs. This program is “helping the veterans to readjust to being at home” and makes the dogs more adoptable since they have basic obedience skills.
The Foundation also supports groups that use dogs in rescue situations. Few will forget the sight of dogs working, tirelessly, at the site of the World Trade Centers after the 9/11 tragedy.
Letter from Doreen Sheridan from NEADS World Class Service Dogs:
Hi FT Cares Foundation,
We have some fun news to share. Ember has arrived at NEADS!
Ember was born on 6/21/19, and she is at our Laura J. Niles Early Learning Center (ELC) on the NEADS campus. While she is at the ELC, our puppy program staff will continue with Ember’s socialization and obedience cues. Ember will have plenty of time to play with the other puppies; both inside the ELC and in the outside fenced in play yard. We have lots of interactive toys to keep the pups busy and happy. In addition, Ember will have one-on-one playtime and socialization with staff and volunteers; a favorite job!
We look forward to updating you on her journey through our Service Dog training program.
Many thanks for your support!
FT Cares made a donation in 2016 to NEADS client, KateLynne Steinke to help fund her service dog named Jones. NEADS World Class Service Dogs (National Education for Assistance Dog Services, also known as Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was established in 1976 and is based in Princeton, Massachusetts. NEADS Service Dogs become an extension of their handlers and bring freedom, physical autonomy, and relief from social isolation to their human partners who are deaf or have a disability. https://neads.org/
You can read the thank you letter from NEADS here
Last month, KateLynne and Jones were chosen to be members of the 2018 Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) team.
Being an athlete takes not only hard work and dedication but because adaptive equipment always costs more than traditional equipment and there aren’t as any local vendors available, being an adaptive athlete is also expensive. CAF’s goal is to provide physically challenged people with the tools they need to pursue active and healthy lifestyles. CAF advocates for all levels of physical activity as a way to enhance quality of life for all. Having a CAF grant to help with the cost of her training will allow KateLynne to concentrate on her workouts, eating well, scheduling and the bodywork (PT, massage, chiro) that keeps her at the elite level.
You can follow KateLynne and Jones on the Facebook page “Jones on the Job”