Pet therapy, often referred to as animal assisted therapy or AAT, is when a trained animal interacts with a human with a specific mood or cognitive goal in mind. Pet therapy has been used in schools, hospitals, care homes and universities all around the world. But now, many funeral directors and cremation specialists are choosing to implement pet therapy programs for memorial services after cremation services in West Valley City, UT. But what is pet therapy? And how do these animals, like dogs and cats, help people cope with loss and grief?
Pet therapy programs were first initiated in the 1980s and involved volunteers bringing their pets to schools, hospitals and care homes for interaction with children and patients. The animals, most often dogs, cats, lambs, and Shetland ponies, are thoroughly trained and are usually accompanied by a handler. These therapy animals are chosen for their positions based on friendly and calm personalities as well as comfort interacting with strangers. There are even famous therapy pets, such as Norbert, an American therapy dog. There are pet therapy programs all around the world now, but it’s been only recent that funeral directors and cremation specialists have begun using pet therapy homes to help patrons deal with grief and loss.
Grief therapy dogs first started popping up in the United States in the last few years. These dogs are usually owned by the funeral director or cremation specialist and are brought to memorial services when requested by the bereaved. There are also new businesses and volunteer programs in which services will bring dogs to funerals and memorials when requested. A grief therapy dog’s main job is to be a calming presence at the service. They are especially helpful in calming and distracting children that may not have ever been to a memorial before or may be afraid of the proceedings. Grief therapy dogs can also support the bereaved through hugs, snuggles and even calming walks.
If you are considering having a grief pet at a memorial, think about the guests. If there are many attendees that would be distressed by a dog, it’s not an appropriate choice. However, if many guests would be helped by the dog, it is a worthwhile investment. Grief therapy pets, like dogs, are only allowed to attend memorial services when specifically requested. There are always signs posted when a dog is in attendance at a service to warn guests that might have allergies or might be afraid of dogs.
Pet therapy is fairly new but is proving to be very effective in the United States and around the world for those in mourning at a memorial service after a cremation.
If you are interested in learning more about pet therapy or about your options for West Valley City, UT cremation services, Utah Simple Cremations is here to help. You can stop by and visit us at 4377 S State St Murray, UT 84107 or give us call at (801) 910-5317 for more information about what we can do for you in your time of loss.