Talk to the Animals


Doctor Doolittle liked to talk to the animals, and so should you.

Research shows that animal-assisted therapy (AAT) — regular interaction with animals like dogs, cats and even horses — can help with a variety of emotional issues like depression and anxiety, addiction recovery and grief management.

“In a society of quick fixes, often when individuals spend time with animals they experience what all humans crave — unconditional love and acceptance,” says Dana Giblock, clinical director at The Recovery Village where K9 therapy and equine therapy are utilized weekly. “These then evolve into emotional, physical and spiritual healing events.”

AAT involves interacting with animals for a set time period over several weeks or months. The get-togethers take place either in individual or group settings and can involve anything from petting to giving treats or just hanging out.

How does animal bonding affect people? Research suggests the interaction increases levels of oxytocin — the so-called “love hormone” produced by the brain — which can ease stress and anxiety, as well as boost serotonin production, the feel-good brain chemical, which is why petting an animal is so calming.



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