Animal Assisted Therapy

We believe that animal therapy can have a positive impact in so many settings and this is something that we will be promoting through Sam’s Superheroes.

Research has shown the benefits of animal therapy in a range of areas some less obvious than others.

Did you know that:

The simple act of petting releases an automatic relaxation response

When humans stroke an animal it can release serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin--all hormones that can play a part in elevating mood.

Research has shown that heart patients’ anxiety ratings dropped by 24% when visited by a dog and human volunteer compared to 10% when visited just by a volunteer. 

Research has shown that patients’ levels of epinephrine, a hormone the body makes under stress, dropped 17% when visited by a person and a dog compared to 7% when visited just by a human volunteer .

Petting an animal increases mental stimulation

Therapy animals are increasingly being used to assist adults and children with a wide range of emotional and psychological disorders including depression, recovery from trauma, anxiety and neuroses.

The presence of an animal in the therapy room can make sessions more pleasurable and productive, and improve therapeutic outcomes. Clients experience calming effects, brightening of mood, increased self-esteem, stress reduction and an increased motivation.

Animal Therapy can assist in recall of memories and help sequence temporal events in patients with head injuries or chronic degenerative diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Animal Therapy has been linked to decreased agitation in Alzheimer’s units

Animals can act as catalysts in the therapy process and may reduce the initial resistance that might accompany entering therapy

In some cases animal therapy has resulted in a decreased use of medical services



  • Promote development of empathy
  • Help withdrawn children to interact and open up
  • Help children to develop a rapport with their therapist
  • Non-judgemental acceptance of child offered by animal
  • Improved socialisation skills
  • Non-threatening physical contact, touch
  • Physiological benefits – increased ability to relax
  • Decreased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Improved literacy rates
  • Greater ability to access the curriculum



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