Bridge House piloted an Animal Assisted Therapy Scheme

Bridge House piloted an Animal Assisted Therapy Scheme on Saturday the 19th March 2016.

Assisted Animal Therapy is a type of therapy that involves animals as a form of treatment.  The goal of A.A.T is to improve service users’ social, emotional or cognitive functioning.  Studies claim that animals can be useful for education and motivation effectiveness.  Animals used in therapy include domesticated pets such as dogs.

A.A.T can provide our service users at Bridge House with the opportunity to have close physical contact with the animal’s warm body enabling them to feel a heartbeat, to caress soft skin and coats, take notice of breathing and to give and receive affection.

The therapy sessions will involve a domestic animal (a dog) to socialize with the service users at Bridge House and for them to have the opportunity to have supervised physical contact whilst having the therapeutic benefits and hopefully having something to look forward to on a weekly basis.

The dog chosen for the specific task was Benji.  Benji is a Jack Russel x Terrier.  He is a small ginger dog who is 3 years of age.  He is a very happy little dog who likes contact and the company of people.

His hobby is looking for rabbits although he doesn’t have much success as Benji has a disability – he only has a partial bone in his hip.

Benji loves going out in the car and insists on looking out of the window with the wind blowing his hair everywhere.  He doesn’t like having his teeth brushed or hoovers!!

Benji was welcomed by all the service users at Bridge House.  He comes in once a week for therapy sessions and has now been at work for his third week.

His work has been successful so far in the way of being a calming influence for one of our service users when they are showing signs of agitation, and encourages others to care for the dog’s wellbeing by ensuring he is fed, watered, walked and that his environment is the correct temperature.

Judy, Support Worker

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