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Pet Encounter Therapy

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The Pet Encounter Therapy (PET) program brings the unconditional love and tactile benefits of animals to people in a variety of settings – skilled nursing facilities, children’s shelters, hospitals, psychiatric units and many more. Groups also have the option to visit the Center for on-site programs.  Staff and volunteers take dogs, rabbits, birds, or guinea pigs to visit more than 40 facilities a month, with many organizations on our waiting list. Studies document that holding and caressing an animal provides benefits such as relaxation, lower blood pressure, improved long- and short-term memory, and sensory stimuli. Animals often bring out the best in people. They can calm hyperactive children or stimulate movement and interaction in those with physical disabilities. During our pet visits, we've seen movement from unresponsive patients or heard words spoken for the first time - all to the amazement of fellow residents and staff members.


Katie Carroll

Location Rancho Santa Fe, California
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • (2015), "Pet Encounter Therapy,"

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  1. Animal-assisted activities
  2. Assisted living facilities
  3. Birds
  4. Cats
  5. Children
  6. Disabilities
  7. Dogs
  8. Horses
  9. Hospices
  10. Hospitals
  11. Human-animal interactions
  12. Long-term care facilities
  13. Mammals
  14. Nursing homes
  15. Older adults
  16. Rodents
  17. Schools
  18. therapy animals
  19. volunteers