A therapy animal is not the same as a service animal.
Service animals are animals that have been trained to perform tasks that assist disabled people and have a legal right to escort their owners into almost any area they need to go. In the United States, service animals are legally protected at the federal level by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Therapy animals are not trained to assist specific individuals and do not qualify as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The primary purpose of a therapy animal is to provide affection and comfort to people in need or with learning difficulties..
Therapy goats are friendly and enjoy human contact. They are raised from a young age and have as much human contact and affection as possible. Most breeds of goat can be trained as a therapy goat.
What Science Says About Animal Assisted Therapy
There is a strong bond between animals and people. Animals are accepting, non-threatening and non-judgmental, making it easier for people to open up.
Interaction with therapy animals can temporarily affect the release of various neurotransmitters in the brain. Animals help humans reduce stress. Studies show that interactions with therapy animals can decrease stress in humans. Playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress–reducing hormone oxytocin (linked with bonding) and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol (immunosuppressant associated with stress). All of which are very essential to optimum human health.
The goal of animal assisted therapy is to improve a patient’s mental, social, emotional, physical and cognitive functioning.
Animal Therapy and Physical Health:
- Improves circulatory / heart health.
- Slows breathing when people are anxious or nervous.
- Lowers blood pressure
- Releases many hormones such as Phenylethylamine which has the same effect as chocolate.
- Overall physical pain can reduce.
- Medications people need can be lessened.
- Exercise is more enjoyable, relaxing, and fun with animals around and present during exercise.
- Children with Autism feel an immediate connection and bond with animals. Helps reduce their anxiety, calms them, and creates better social interactions.
Animal Therapy and Mental Health:
- It is a proven, scientific fact that petting animals is automatically calming and relaxing by releasing Natural “feel good” hormones.
- Makes people Happy.
- Anxiety reducing.
- provides a feeling of comfort.
- Reduces loneliness.
- Increases mental stimulation and memory.
Maui Goat Yoga’s goats offer so much love and affection that we are consistently told was the highlight of their vacation on Maui.