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Therapy Dog Ownership as Serious Leisure for Members of a Therapy Dog Volunteer Group

By Jonathan R. Hicks, Mary Kramer

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Therapy dogs are used in a variety of settings, including prisons, hospitals, and schools, for the purposes of providing emotional and psychological support to humans. They are trained to be well behaved and to be perceived as supportive of humans. This study sought to explore the benefits to the human individuals who facilitate trained therapy sessions. Specifically considered were the ways in which therapy dog ownership is a form of serious leisure and the ways in which that leisure influences owners’ day- to- day lives. Findings suggest owners of therapy dogs experience enhanced personal enrichment, relationship with dog(s), and sense of responsibility. Implications for research and practice are discussed and include health- related components.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2020
Publication Title People and Animals: The International Journal of Research and Practice
Volume 3
Issue 1
Pages 13
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Dogs
  3. Health
  4. Leisure
  5. open access
  6. peer-reviewed
  7. recreation
  8. therapy animals
  9. training
  10. Well-being
  1. open access
  2. peer-reviewed