Benefits of utilizing
a therapy or support animal

Our Therapy Services

Research has demonstrated that the stress hormone, cortisol, can be reduced by up to 45% just by petting a therapy animal.  Petting an animal for as little as one minute has been shown to stimulate the production of oxytocin, the hormone associated with bonding, trust, cooperation and love.

Interacting with a therapy animal releases endorphins making people feel better, diminishing feelings of pain, depression and loneliness.  Having a therapy and support dog from Brisbane Support Animals visit your workplace can help create conditions conducive to a more productivity environment and give your clients a stress-free environment.

Disability Sessions

Our dogs can work in partnership with your allied health professionals (for example: psychologists, physiotherapist, occupational therapists, speech therapists) to provide an interesting and diversified therapeutic method in a fun, pleasant and gentle manner.

The involvement of a trained dog in occupational therapy has been found to decrease physiological arousal and stress, and provide motivation to engage in social interactions, play and functional tasks. Fine motor, gross motor, and coordination skills.  Animal-assisted approaches are the therapeutic methods of eliminating and using the problems that an individual experience in the physical, emotional, psychological, social, sensory, and environmental development areas by taking advantage of human and animal interaction. These methods consist of two basic chapters: animal-assisted activities (AAAs) and animal-assisted therapies (AATs).

Methods have been used to increase social interaction with physical structure and functions in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder and cerebral palsy. In addition, it is actively used in mental disorders such as depression and anxiety because an improvement is observed by providing the individual to feel safe. When participation is considered in the context of independence in daily life activities are very important, the use of animal-assisted in occupational therapy. – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329091286_Animal-Assisted_Therapy_in_Occupational_Therapy/citation 

A therapy dog assists a professional service provider (often in a healthcare setting) in the treatment or rehabilitation of a patient or client. These dogs can be found accompanying occupational therapists, psychotherapists, speech-language pathologists, physical therapists and other professionals in the performance of their job duties. In an occupational therapy setting, for example, a therapy dog can help improve a patient’s gross motor skills through encouraging exercises such as grooming the dog, throwing a ball, or walking with assistance from the dog. In a psychotherapy setting, the dog may help the therapist develop rapport with a client or facilitate child therapy. – National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown, WV 26505, USA; vog.cdc@5wao

Contact us to learn more about Therapy & Support Animals Australia and to discuss how we can further assist you – Brisbane Support Animals

Airport crowd calming

The idea of utilizing Therapy Dogs in Airports started at California’s Mineta San Jose International Airport shortly after 9/11 as a way to ease traveler jitters. Videos of those dogs at work convinced other airports give it a go.  There are now over 30 Airports in the United States that have therapy dogs on duty, and the number is steadily growing.

All travelers are used to seeing numerous different dogs at airports.  There are Security Dogs, Explosive Detection Dogs, Quarantine Dogs and of Border Protection Dogs. They are, however, working dogs and are under the total control of their handler and, as such, are not to be treated as a pet.

Therapy and Support Animals Australia dogs are totally different!  The more you pet them the happier EVERYONE is.  By petting, spending time with or even just by watching the dogs has been proven that

Our dogs have successfully completed an extensive training program and are continually evaluated to ensure compliance with legislation, policies and procedures in place for emotional assistance animals here in Queensland.  We offer our services at highly competitive rates and we are fully insured.  Our dogs have the ability to interact with people regardless of their emotional, psychological or physical level of ability and our handlers are fully qualified and highly experienced to ensure that only positive experiences are had by all. 

Although we at Therapy and Support Animals love all things dog, we understand that not everyone does and certain religious beliefs, allergies and/or cultural beliefs may preclude interaction.  For that reason, our Team will typically remain stationary in an open area so those who wish to pat / love and cuddle our dogs can do so while the choice is also there not to be involved.

Those that do wish to interact with our Pooches will be given the dogs “official” business card as a reminder & memento of the special pup that helped them on their safe & stress-free travel!!

Contact us to learn more about Therapy & Support Animals Australia and to discuss how we can further assist you – Brisbane Support Animals

Funeral Homes – stress and anxiety reduction, dealing with loss

The aim of utilizing a Therapy Dog in the workplace, is to improve a person’s social, cognitive and emotional functioning. Thus, lowering the emotional stress on your client/s and facilitating a less stressful interaction.  This enables the process to progress more smoothly and often, reduces the duration of the meeting. It has been proven that by merely petting a therapy dog initiates anxiety reduction and relieves some of the emotional turmoil of dealing with loss.

 The comfort that is provided by therapy dogs cannot be overstated. Petting a therapy dog increases serotonin and dopamine levels in our brain, which improves our mood by lowering stress, anxiety, and depression. Petting a therapy dog also lowers blood pressure and helps those who are feeling lonely, which could be the case for someone who lost a loved one.

Brian Merkle, president of Merkle Funeral Service in Monroe and Erie, Michigan, offers his observation:

“A young mother died unexpectedly, leaving several children, including a teenaged daughter, behind. The daughter was sitting in our lobby, crying uncontrollably. Lola, our therapy dog, knew she needed comfort, so she climbed up on the couch and lay right next to the emotional daughter. The girl soon began stroking Lola’s soft coat and stopped crying. Lola helped ease her burden, if only for a moment.”

Contact us to learn more about Therapy & Support Animals Australia and to discuss how we can further assist you – Brisbane Support Animals

Corporate + team change navigation

We are a new service to raise awareness of the benefits of having a therapy and support animal operating within your workplace, not only for your employees but for your customers as well.

Therapy Animals can help employees feel more resilient when working in stressful situations. 

AAT has shown that it can reduce stress in a stressful situation and increases trust between Humans.

Contact us to learn more about Therapy & Support Animals Australia and to discuss how we can further assist you – Brisbane Support Animals

Trauma / Crisis / PTSD

Our Therapy & Supports animals are loved pets that have completed specialised training to assist, enable & motivate people who are experiencing a range of psychiatric and emotional disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, hallucinations, panic attacks or suicidal ideation, or who are struggling to participate in personal and public life activities.

Therapy Dogs have been proven to help people heal psychologically and emotionally.  Interacting with a Therapy Dog can:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce heart rate and cholesterol
  • Decrease stress levels
  • Relieve loneliness
  • Be good companions
  • Be a good reason to get out of the house, spend time outdoors & meet new people
  • Encourage engagement in the community,
  • Regain areas of functioning that may have been diminished by their trauma.

 Further, a health care professional who uses a therapy dog in treatment may be viewed as more connected, potentially increasing the therapeutic bond between the client and mental health professional.

Contact us to learn more about Therapy & Support Animals Australia and to discuss how we can further assist you – Brisbane Support Animals

Sickness, palliative care, hospital or home visit

Did you know that the Human Animal Bond Research Institute have found that Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) can help alleviate stress, anxiety, depression and feelings of loneliness and improving a person’s social, cognitive and emotional functioning?   Interacting with therapy dogs and animals can increase levels of the stress reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease the production of the stress hormone cortisol. 

Contact us to learn more about Therapy & Support Animals Australia and to discuss how we can further assist you – Brisbane Support Animals

Returned Service Personnel

Here are some reasons why dogs might help individuals with PTSD

  • Dogs are vigilant. Anyone who has ever had a nightmare knows that a dog in the room provides information.  They immediately let you know if you are really in immediate danger or if you have just had a nightmare.  This extra layer of vigilance mimics the buddy system in the military.  No soldier or grunt or sailor is ever alone in the battlefield.  The same is true when you have a dog by your side.  You are not alone.  You can ease your mind searching for data in the environment because you know the dog is doing it for you.
  • Dogs are protective. Just like the buddy system in the military.  Someone is there to have your back.
  • Dogs respond well to authoritative relationships.  Many military personnel return from their deployments and have difficulty functioning in their relationships.  They are used to giving and getting orders.  This usually doesn’t work well in the typical Australian home, and I’ve talked to many servicemen and women who have been told to knock that off once they got home.  Well, dogs love it.
  • Dogs love unconditionally. Many military personnel return from their deployments and have difficulty adjusting to the civilian world.  Sometimes they realize that the skills they learned and used in the service weren’t transferable or respected in the civilian sector.  This can be devastating when they were well-respected for their position in the military.  Dogs don’t play any of these games.  They just love.
  • Dogs help relearn trust. Trust is a big issue in PTSD.  It can be very difficult to feel safe in the world after certain experiences, and being able to trust the immediate environment can take some time.  Dogs help heal by being trustworthy.
  • Dogs help to remember feelings of love. The world can look pretty convoluted after war.  I spoke to a Veteran recently who bought a puppy.  He didn’t want the puppy sleeping on his bed so he bought his puppy an expensive puppy bed.  He was thrilled to introduce the bed to his new puppy and was outraged when the puppy ate it.  He yelled at the puppy and disciplined him.  He then told me that he sat down feeling miserable about yelling at the puppy and his puppy eating the bed.  His puppy came up beside him and licked his face.  He turned and looked at the puppy and said, “What are you licking me for?  I am mad at you!”  The puppy wagged his tail and licked him again.  And he felt love.

Below are some Testimonials from Oxford Academic Military Medicine subjects in relation to Equine Therapy for PTSD sufferers

When I first came here, I didn’t know what to expect. But what I found was inner peace. Peace, peace, peace, everybody talks about peace. But you really don’t know it if you’ve never had it. And this is peaceful.” “It felt good. Real, real good. It’s really hard to explain. Very quiet. Knowing I was safe. You interact with the horses, you don’t spook or jump them, you just kind of walk up to them and they walk up to you, and you just start up a relationship. But you gotta be totally open with them, and honest. You can’t show any fear or anything.

Another Vietnam combat veteran discussed in the story commented on equine therapy, “It’s very soothing. It’s like if you had a horrible story on your mind and all of a sudden that mind trauma just faded.” “I can’t explain it, it’s just being with that horse, it’s super peaceful.” “The first time I went [for equine therapy] was to pick a horse out, and he actually came up to me. I nicknamed him Blue.” “The second time I went over, I was really upset, and by the time I left, I felt great. It’s a feeling I can’t really explain, but every time I go by there, I say “hi Blue.”” “The last time I was down there I was brushing the horse. And he just stood there. Have you ever seen a cat when you just rub him and his eyes just kind of squint? Well, that’s what the horse did, and it just made me feel so good that he could understand me.”

Contact us to learn more about Therapy & Support Animals Australia and to discuss how we can further assist you – Brisbane Support Animals

Government Departments – DOCS

Therapy Animals reduce stress physiologically and increase attachment responses that trigger oxytocin – a hormone that increases trust in humans.  Therefore, improving the interactions between client and employee / Department.  The aim of utilizing a Therapy Dog is to improve a person’s social, cognitive and emotional functioning. Thus, lowering the emotional stress on your client enabling a less traumatic planning session.

The presence of a Therapy Dog “behind the scenes” is of great comfort to employees working in highly stressful situations who often deal with life & death matters / violent or traumatic events.  Therapy Animals assist the employee to remove themselves from the feelings of anxiety and helplessness and brings them back to the moment. Patting and playing with a dog has proven to elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax the person.

One potential benefit of dogs in the workplace is that they provide an additional source of social support for the employee. The term “social support” is often used to describe the mechanisms by which relationships with other people buffer individuals from stress. For example, increased social support was associated with lower levels of depression and better job performance in a survey of 240 hospital workers, whereas low social support at work has been associated with diagnoses of depression and anxiety. In a qualitative study, social support was identified as a key factor in whether people with serious mental illness return to work or remain employed.

Researchers investigating the role of pets in buffering stress reported that pets may serve as a source of social support, perhaps more effectively than a spouse or close friends. For example, Allen et al compared the effects of the presence of a spouse or a family pet on individuals’ cardiovascular responses to a stressful task. Blood pressure and heart rate were recorded during a cold-pressor task (submerging a hand in ice water) and a mental-arithmetic task under one of three conditions: alone (control condition), in the presence of a spouse, or in the presence of a pet. During the pre-task baseline periods and the tasks, heart rate and blood pressure were significantly lower when a pet was present than when a spouse was present. Furthermore, performance of the mental-arithmetic task had the fewest errors in the condition with a pet present. Similar studies have found that the presence of a dog reduced skin conductance responses and salivary cortisol to a significantly greater degree than that of a human friend.  –  Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26505, USA

Contact us to learn more about Therapy & Support Animals Australia and to discuss how we can further assist you – Brisbane Support Animals

Schools / Daycare / University / Learning Institutes

Recent Research at Monash University report highlighted that children working with therapy dogs experienced increased motivation for learning, resulting in improved outcomes. Therapy dogs are being used to support children with social and emotional development needs, which in turn can assist with literacy development.

Research into the effects of therapy dogs in schools is showing a range of benefits including:

  • Increase in school attendance.
  • Therapy dogs have been shown to teach empathy and social skills, reduce anxiety in children, be soothing and increase motivation for learning.
  • Assists the students to gain confidence
  • Lessens learner anxiety behaviours resulting in improved learning outcomes, such as increased reading and writing levels
  • Positive changes towards learning and improved motivation
  • Enhanced relationships with peers and teachers due to experiencing trust and unconditional love from a therapy dog. This in turn helps students learn how to express their feelings and enter into more trusting relationships.
  • Dogs are great at calming children, easing loneliness and encouraging children to socialise with others, dogs are a real conversation starter. Therapy animals would be hugely beneficial in boarding school situations where children are often away from home for extended periods may feel further isolation from not having contact with their family pet.  The bond that the students have with the therapy animal would be of further assistance in times of heightened stress i.e. exam period or after a stressful event or mishap had occurred.
  • Researchers also found that university students reported significantly less stress and anxiety, and increased happiness and energy, immediately following spending time in a drop-in session with a dog present, when compared to a control group of students who didn’t spend any time with a therapy dog.

Human Development Researcher Patricia Pendry from Washington State University :

We already knew that students enjoy interacting with animals, and that it helps them experience more positive emotions,”

“What we wanted to learn was whether this exposure would help students reduce their stress in a less subjective way.”

Using salivary cortisol levels as an indication of academic stress, the study focused on 249 college students, who were randomly split into four groups during a real university animal visitation program.

For ten minutes, the first group of students was allowed to pet, play and just generally hang out with a group of cats and dogs from a local shelter. The other groups were not so lucky.

While the second group spent the full ten minutes in line, waiting and watching other students interact with the animals, the third group didn’t even get that far, and was only shown images of the animals in a slideshow.

The last group was simply put on an indefinite waitlist, meaning they had no visual or physical exposure to the animals, even though they were told they would get to see them soon.

 

Salivary samples were taken by each participant three times throughout the day, once upon waking, and two more times 15 and 25 minutes after the 10 minute experiment.

As the first animal visitation study to examine salivary cortisol outside of a laboratory setting, the results are promising. In the end, the first group showed significantly lower levels of salivary cortisol than all the other groups. And that remained true no matter what a student’s cortisol levels were upon waking, the time they’d spent awake that day, or their circadian rhythms.

In short, this suggests that just 10 minutes of petting time can have a significant impact on a student’s physical stress levels. And the authors are hopeful that this could assist universities in determining the best type of interaction and dosage for their animal intervention programs.

While we must keep in mind that the sample size of this study is rather small, the results complement extensive research on animal-assisted therapy in general, which has shown that having a dog is beneficial for both human health and wellbeing.

Contact us to learn more about Therapy & Support Animals Australia and to discuss how we can further assist you – Brisbane Support Animals

About Us

Interacting with a therapy animal releases endorphins making people feel better, diminishing feelings of pain, depression and loneliness. Having a therapy and support dog visit your workplace can help create conditions conducive to a more productivity and give your clients a stress-free environment..

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