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Dog Therapy Appreciation Day – April 11, 2023

Dog Therapy Appreciation Day is celebrated on April 11 every year to appreciate the dogs who comfort us by being therapy dogs. Therapy dogs go through a rigorous testing program before they become certified. With their certification, they become eligible to visit hospitals and nursing homes to give comfort to people. Therapy dogs are usually at first pets who receive training and then become therapy dogs. Being around dogs makes everyone happy, and on this day we thank dogs for making us happier.

History of Dog Therapy Appreciation Day

Animal-assisted therapy has been used way back since the ancient Greeks. Horses were used throughout history to treat people. In the 1600s, physicians used horses to improve the physical and mental health of patients. Florence Nightingale in the 1800s observed that pets can reduce levels of anxiety and stress in adults. A wave of informal experiments which involved animals’ interaction with humans began to produce a calming effect on patients suffering from anxiety.

Sigmund Freud became intrigued with the connection between humans and animals and developed the idea of the Human-Animal Bond. His theory described that humans need interaction with animals and nature to normalize daily life. Freud is known to use his pet to calm his patients. In the 1940s, the American Red Cross used farm animals to treat war veterans suffering from injury or illness. Veterans would take care of the farm animals to ease their minds and not think about the gruesome war.

In the 1960s, Dr. Boris Levinson discovered that his dog positively affected mentally impaired young patients. He also noticed that patients were more comfortable and social with their dogs than with other humans. According to some studies, having a pet can help you live a longer and happier life. Dogs can reduce the risk of heart disease, and for those who had suffered heart disease, owning a dog or a cat decreased the risk of another heart attack.

Dog Therapy Appreciation Day timeline

1600s
Horses are Used to Treat Patients

In the 1600s, physicians uses horses to improve the physical and mental health of patients.

1800s
The Benefit of Pets is Established

Florence Nightingale in the 1800s observes that pets can reduce levels of anxiety and stress in adults.

1940s
Animals are Used to Treat Veterans

In the 1940s, the American Red Cross uses farm animals to treat war veterans suffering from injury or illness.

1960s
The Positive Effect on Patients

In the 1960s, Dr. Boris Levinson discovers that his dog had a positive effect on mentally impaired young patients.

Dog Therapy Appreciation Day FAQs

What is a therapy dog?

Therapy dogs volunteer in schools, nursery homes, and hospitals to provide comfort to people.

Do pets improve mental health?

Studies show that they can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

Why are dogs so effective in providing therapy?

Dogs are great at elevating mood and relaxing people.

Dog Therapy Appreciation Day Activities

  1. Pet a dog

    Celebrate this day by petting a dog and showing it some love. Petting a dog not only makes us happy and healthy but also makes the dog feel loved.

  2. Adopt a pet

    There is no better way to celebrate this day than to adopt a pet if you are able and willing. Welcome home a new fur baby, and make your home happier.

  3. Appreciate therapy dogs

    Appreciate therapy dogs for their hard work. Make sure to give them the treats they deserve.

5 Incredible Facts About Therapy Dogs

  1. The first formal therapy dog program

    Elaine Smith was the first to establish a therapy dog program in 1976.

  2. Dogs can help ease autism symptoms

    About 81.8% of children with autistic symptoms prefer to play with dogs over anything else, and they can access normal human emotions when playing with pets.

  3. Any dog can be a therapy dog

    Even strays and shelter dogs with proper training can be therapy dogs since it depends on the animal’s temperament and how well they can adjust to the training.

  4. Dogs can help children read

    Dogs pair up with children with learning disabilities, and children read in front of them, which provides a judgment-free zone.

  5. Pet greatly improves mental health

    74% of pet owners claim that animals helped in improving their mental health.

Why We Love Dog Therapy Appreciation Day

  1. It appreciates animals

    This day appreciates animals and their impact on our lives. This day is to show love to the fur babies.

  2. It encourages human-animal bond

    The human-animal bond is very vital, and it is unlike anything else. This day encourages deepening the bond between humans and animals.

  3. It raises awareness

    This day raises awareness about the positive impact of dog therapy on people. It spreads information about how vital it is for people.

Dog Therapy Appreciation Day dates

YearDateDay
2023April 11Tuesday
2024April 11Thursday
2025April 11Friday
2026April 11Saturday
2027April 11Sunday

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