Pets As Therapy: Healing Paws

We all know what a positive effect our pets can have on our lives. For some, letting those precious pets be a part of someone else’s life too, allows this wonderful charity to reach out to thousands of people each week, sharing the benefits of unconditional love and companionship that these wonderful animals can bring. This charity is Pets as Therapy – this week, Shep, our adorable rescue mutt, interviews them about what they do.

Who are Pets as Therapy?


Pets As Therapy is a registered charity that has both cats and dogs visiting throughout the UK. Approximately 5,000 dogs and cats and thousands of incredible volunteers provide these services, bringing the benefits to over 130,000 people every single week. Each pet is owned by a registered volunteer who makes regular visits to various organisations including hospitals, hospices, nursing and residential care homes as well as special and mainstream schools. These therapeutic visits give people, young and old, the pleasurable opportunity to cuddle, fuss and talk to the visiting dogs and volunteer teams, with the most isolated and withdrawn opening up and letting barriers down. The companionship of an undemanding dog that gives unconditional love, is often the most missed aspect of their lives. Research continues to validate the very real value of the daily work that Pets As Therapy do in the community for those who need a little extra boost in addition to medical skills and nursing care.


Wow, that’s amazing! What else do you do?




The charity is also becoming increasingly involved in structured Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) sessions, for example, through referral by Clinical Psychologists working with dog phobic children and with Occupational Therapists working with patients in stroke rehabilitation. Pets As Therapy is also now offering a new service to schools with research demonstrating how reading in the presence of dogs can improve confidence and reading abilities.


Can any pet be a PAT?




Any dog or cat can become a P.A.T. dog or a P.A.T. cat, as long as it has been with its owner for at least 6mths, is over 9mths of age and can pass the assessment. Before any animal and volunteer are accepted as a Pets as Therapy visiting team, they must undergo an assessment which is carried out by one of the charity’s nationwide team of assessors. This assessment provides the information necessary to establish if the dog has the correct temperament to become a visiting therapy dog or cat. The animal’s temperament is much more important than the breed, size or shape. Over 90 Voluntary Area Co-ordinators look after the volunteers regionally and play a key role in taking new volunteers under their wing, helping to introduce them to their new and very special visiting role. Whilst the lives of around seven million people are improved in a single year by the Pets As Therapy visits, the charity’s services are run by a very small number of staff. They provide help and advice to the volunteer force to encourage recruitment and develop the reach, value and effectiveness of the charity’s services.


Do you have any cool celebs’ involved in your Charity?

Yes, we have several celebrity supporters, including Clare Balding, who said “I am thrilled to be able to support Pets As Therapy, it is a wonderful charity”…. “I fully appreciate the benefit that a dog brings to my life. I would like that warmth and love to be shared with those who need it most and I believe that Pets As Therapy fulfils this desire” and Joanna Lumley who said “As a new proud Celebrity Supporter of Pets As Therapy I send my warmest good wishes and admiring support for this wonderful and effective work.”
So how is all this amazing work funded?




Pets As therapy is a national charity, which benefits so many people in the UK but they can only do so with your help. They receive NO government funding and rely entirely on the generosity and kindness of their supporters and volunteers. If you can help Pets As Therapy continue to do the great work they do or for more information, please visit their website at call 01844 345 445 or you can find them on facebook.


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