The HABRI Foundation is calling for research proposals to investigate the health outcomes of pet ownership and/or animal-assisted activity or therapy, both for the people and the animals involved. To learn more, visit https://habri.org/grants/funding-opportunities/ close

 
You are here: Home / Members / Myrna Milani / Blog

Physicians "Prescribing" Pets?

Call me a grinch but articles like this one about physicians prescribing pets for their patients doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling. I most certainly recognize the benefits healthy, well-behaved animals  can have on human physical and mental well-being. But I also know that finding a pet who already possesses those qualities or ensuring them in a pet lacking them takes a lot more time, effort, and commitment than picking up a prescription at a pharmacy. And because I spend many hours each week working with normally healthy people whose pets' behavioral and medical problems have left them feeling tired, frustrated, angry, frightened, or depressed as well as those who were physically or emotionally fragile before they bought or adopted the problematic animal, I prefer a more preventive approach. 

While I applaud the human medical and behavioral communities for recognizing the value of the bond for human well-being, animals aren't drugs. On second thought, perhaps in some ways they are in that it's necessary to pay attention to the source. Just as physicians prescribe drugs, the actions and sources of which they trust to behave as expected, so they should prescribe animals. If they wouldn't suggest that their patients get their drugs from unknown sources with unknown histories, then perhaps they should think twice about take a one-size-fits-all approach to  animals who are far more complex and have far more side-effects than any drug. 

 

Comments on this entry

  1. Sven Hultman

    Myrna,

    I fully understand your concern. However, the way prescricption of pets is done according to the Swedish National Standard, things are different. These pet-teams have a year long training, and are tested for aptitude before the training starts, and tested in a simulated care environment after their yearlong education. Read about it here: http://www.animalassistedintervention.org/Portals/11/Flash%20S-G%20Hultman%20Swedish%20MOdel.pdf

    Or in this book: http://www.provlas.se/the-professional-therapy-dog/.

    Or at our website - unfortunately only in Swedish: http://www.vardhundskolan.se/

    Use Google Translate!

    Greetings/Sven-G Hultman

    Reply Report abuse

    Replying to Sven Hultman

Add a comment

Please keep comments relevant to this entry.

Line breaks and paragraphs are automatically converted. URLs (starting with http://) or email addresses will automatically be linked.