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.
For Physical Health:
- Lowers blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health.
- Reduces the amount of medications some people need.
- Breathing slows in those who are anxious.
- Releases many hormones such as Phenylethylamine which has the same effect as chocolate.
- Diminishes overall physical pain.
- Relax more during exercise.
- Participants were motivated, enjoyed the therapy sessions more, and felt the atmosphere of the session was less stressful during Animal-Assisted therapy.
- For Children with Autism
- Many children with autism feel a deep bond with animals and feel that they are able to relate better than humans.
- Children with autism were engaged in significantly greater use of language as well as social interaction win their therapy sessions that incorporated animals compared to standard therapy sessions without them.
For Mental Health:
- The simple act of petting animals releases an automatic relaxation response.
- Humans interacting with animals have found that petting the animal promoted the release of serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin- all hormones that can play a part in elevating moods.
- Lowers anxiety and helps people relax.
- Provides comfort.
- Reduces loneliness.
- Increases mental stimulation.
- Assist in recall of memories and help sequence temporal events in patients with head injuries or chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
- Can provide an escape or happy distraction.
- Can act as catalysts in the therapy process.
- May help break the ice.
- May reduce the initial resistance that might accompany therapy.
Our goats offer an abundance of love and affection. They will enhance and brighten even the hardest days.