Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Date Information

May 2016

Department

Communications

First Advisor

Jane Regan

Abstract

About two years ago, I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder. That, along with my life-long love of dogs, stirred my interest in their therapeutic value. Being around dogs promotes safe and calm feelings; just the sight of them brings a smile and a feeling of peace and happiness. Beginning with a brief history of therapy dogs, the research and story unfold through interviews, site visits, and photos. The project discusses the process of certifying therapy teams, and witnesses the special bond between canine and human through interviews with therapy teams and personal interactions between teams and people of various ages captured in photographs during site visits. It also examines the observations and continuing study of dog therapy by medical professionals.

Therapy dogs bring significant benefits to people in medical facilities, schools, assisted-living facilities, long-term skilled nursing homes, hospice living, among others. The benefits are far reaching, extending to the handlers, facility staff, and also the dogs. The mounting literature and research along with the interviews, site visits, and photos clearly support the basic premise of this project: that therapy dogs are a powerful and positive force. The human-canine connection provides happiness and health benefits for all involved.

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