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Top 10 Pet Assistants

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Top 10 Pet Assistants

When you think about animals helping people, no doubt the most prominent image that pops into your head is of a visually impaired person with a guide dog. But there are many more ways in which pets provide vital assistance.

Did you know that some pets are trained to help the hearing impaired, too? Others bring therapeutic comfort to sick hospital patients. Here are our top ten pet assistant job picks …

10. Facility Dogs

Imagine being bedridden in a hospital or a long-term care facility. The more isolated people feel, the longer it may take for them to recover or respond to treatment. For Better Independence Assistance Dogs trains canines to visit people in facilities such as hospices and hospitals. The clear benefits of therapeutic animal visits have been the focus of medical studies, the results of which were published in the Journal for Gerontology: Medical Sciences in July 2002.

9. Skilled Companion Dogs

The human animal bond is so strong that the quality of life for those who are isolated or socially challenged is indelibly improved by the presence of a companion pet. Skilled companion dogs are specially trained pets that provide therapeutic affection while assisting in mobility tasks where necessary. Canine Companions for Independence includes people affected by autism, Down’s syndrome, and cerebral palsy, all of whom have found themselves the beneficiaries of skilled canine companionship.

8. Therapeutic Companion Dogs

Therapy dogs differ from service dogs in that they provide comfort and companionship to people with disabilities, or those hindered by illness. Therapy dogs are usually part of a volunteer program that is made up of naturally good-tempered, docile, and friendly house pets. Unlike service dogs that have had specialized training, therapy dogs are not professionally trained; but they are often tested and accredited for therapy.

See Also: 10 Amazing Pet Feats (Slideshow)

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Read more: Animal Rights, Behavior & Communication, Cats, Cute Pet Photos, Dogs, Humor & Inspiration, Pets, Safety

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Nicolas, selected from petMD

petMD is a leading online resource focused solely on the health and well-being of pets. The site maintains the world's largest pet health library, written and approved by a network of trusted veterinarians. petMD was founded to inspire pet owners to provide an ever-increasing quality of life for their pets and to connect pet owners with pet experts and other animal lovers. For more information, visit petMD.com.

341 comments

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8:34PM PST on Feb 24, 2014

Thank You. Dogs are the best.

12:48PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

gotta love snuggle pets (or any kind really) and service animals really make a difference

8:23AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Fascinating and interesting facts. Dogs and other animals offer us so much with their companionship and assistance.

At the moment I am owned by a 16-year-old blind cat that is a purrleasure to be around. Have had a few dogs in my life over the years.

6:41PM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

Thank you for article.

6:41PM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

Thank you for article.

3:16PM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

Thanks for posting!

3:15PM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

Thanks for posting.

6:28PM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

They are good at so many things, and so eager to help us.

2:39PM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

We must also think about people helping animals and understand what is wrong if something bother the pet; in my case cat. The experience to have cats as familymembers they communicate with you and in that way we can understand animals. I have understood for long times my cats and also I have given my time to them when the final call is coming to them. They look at me several times in the middle of the struggle of death. And they calm down when they see I am next to them when the time has come.

12:22AM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

Thank-you for posting the article. Dr. Weil certainly went right to the main point when he said how the Animal Assisted Therapy provides the patient with a means of giving & receiving affection. I don't think that aspect is thought of as much as it needs to be & hence the importance of it gets pushed into the background. Except for those with a heart of stone, humans have a need to exchange affection & it does not have to be with a therapy trained pet. Personally & professionally speaking, I can attest to the value of mutual or reciprocal warm feelings.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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