Therapy dogs have been around since the Second World War, and are an important part of modern therapy. Don’t confuse therapy dogs with dogs designed to help individuals, for example seeing eye dogs. Therapy dogs aren’t assistance or service dogs, they are there to help anyone who needs the comfort and pleasure of having an animal to touch, fuss and relate to.
The concept is simple. It has been shown time after time that people with disabilities, people with emotional issues, people who are aging and those in hospital and even hospices benefit greatly from interaction with animals. Therapy dogs are increasingly used on college campuses at exam time to help the mental and emotional well-being of students far from home and under pressure.
Therapy dogs have been used in education programs, for example, to help children learn to read, and have proved to be a way of reaching people with autism. They are also commonly used in speech therapy.
These dogs seem to strike a chord deep in people’s hearts. People who for whatever reason find it hard to relate to human beings can often relate to an animal.
The scientific evidence is compelling. People interacting with therapy dogs have demonstrated increased levels of oxytocin, a naturally occurring substance in the body associated with bonding, and serotonin, well known to increase the feeling of pleasure and happiness. Reduced stress levels have also been noted. So the benefits that therapy dogs bring are not only emotional and psychological, they are physical too.
Generally dogs used as therapy dogs are calm, intelligent breeds such as labs and retrievers. Therapy dogs have to able to be calm and happy when confronted with a whole range of people, and be able to patiently submit to the occasional burst of too much love! Many therapy dogs know simple and charming tricks which they will perform on command, encouraging those in need to interact with them.
One therapy working with children with severe disabilities is Skippy. Skippy is a rescue dog who was picked up off the street by a passer -by after being involved in a hit and run accident. She was clearly just a street mutt, but her rescuer took pity on her and took her to the vet, who had to amputate one of her front legs. Skippy made an excellent recover, and proved herself to be a loving pet. She never seems to notice that she is a leg short – it just makes it easier to give cuddles.
She can run, jump and play as well as any dog, and her owner takes her into a nearby school for disabled children, who totally relate to the three legged dog who lets them hug her, play with her and generally make a big pet of her for as long as they want. Skippy is an inspiration for these children who see in her a reflection of their own situation. Skippy’s abilities are emphasized, not her disabilities, so she isn’t only a therapy dog but also an example of how to overcome disability.
There are many charities around the world involved in this work, and a body of knowledge has resulted in training courses to ensure that therapy dogs are used to their maximum potential. Therapy dogs are yet more proof that a dog is a person’s best friend.
I can’t imagine not having a pet in my life. In particular, I can’t imagine not having a dog (although I am also very fond of my tame sheep, Mint Sauce). Pets bring us almost undiluted pleasure, and every study shows that having a pet animal is valuable for mental and physical health.
The simple fact of having a living creature which depends upon us, responds to us, and yet has an independent life of its own, is hugely comforting. The physical experience of stroking or grooming a dog or a cat is proved to be calming, to reduce blood pressure, and to promote feelings of wellbeing in both human and animal.
I have owned many rescue dogs, and the simple fact of saving another living creature from at best a lonely life in a pound, and at worst, death, just makes me feel good. And believe me, a rescue animal knows it’s been rescued, and will love you intensely and with its whole heart.
If you feel that you need a lift in your life, adopt a rescue pet. Suddenly, you will be elevated to the status of minor deity. Your every move, expression and mood, will be studied with utter devotion. Whatever you do will be the best thing ever known to animal-kind. And if you’re having trouble getting the exercise you need, the sight of Rover sitting hopefully by the front door with his lead in his mouth will get even the most stubborn couch potato up and out into the fresh air.
A little kitten that someone has abandoned on a rubbish heap will grow into a sleek mouser, that will purr like an engine and keep your feet warm in the winter. A frightened stray cat which lives out of trashcans will become beautiful queen of the house, simply by giving her love, warmth, good food and attention.
When you adopt a pet, don’t look just at the appealing puppies and kittens. Look at the older animals, who so desperately need a home and to be loved. One of the most wonderful dogs I have ever had waited three years in a no-kill pound for me to come along and fall in love with her. Now she is my best guard dog, a total love bug, and I wouldn’t swap her for the champion of Crufts plus a million dollars.
I even have rescue chickens. These are so called “spent hens” who are no longer viable as egg layers at the factory farm. They are usually sold for just a dollar or two, and even if you have just a little patch of grass and can make a small shelter out of a wooden box, you can give a home to a creature that has never ever seen the outdoors. Watching them get happy and plump, and gradually understanding that there is a wonderful world that they can enjoy, is an intense pleasure, and they will even reward you with an egg every day or two, in return for a handful of corn.
The other day, I found myself in the local pet store, having a conversation out loud with myself about which color my rescue hound dog, Elvis, would like best for his new collar. (Purple.) A woman of my own age smiled at me. “Oh, I suppose this is a sign of becoming a dotty old lady,” I laughed. “No,” she said, “it’s a sign of complete sanity and happiness.”
When looking at birds, such as thrushes, there may be some things you know to be true. This is the fact that they insects and seeds and that they can soar through the skies. These birds are also among the 65% of all bird species that migrate. While some go short distances and stop to relax, others will make their long trek over places like the ocean without missing a beat.
But how can these animals go so far and not take a short nap? The truth of the matter is that these species do rest and many of them become sleeping birds in flight on their journey. This isn’t the late night dreaming that you may be used to doing in your home bed though.
Many of these birds, including thrushes, will actually rest half their brain at one time, to offset their lack of sleep. With their eye closed, the can rest half the brain at one time. This can then be switched further in the journey through a process called unilateral eye closure. Depending on the eye that is closed, the brain hemisphere on that side is asleep, while the other side remains active and alert.
So what are some of these unique sleeping birds in flight, besides thrushes? The list includes:
- Barn Swallow
As a rule migratory birds that travel considerable distances will be included in this list of birds. But how do these birds master the art of sleeping and flying at the same time. The answer isn’t in the evolution process by any means.
Instead, these birds were created with this ability. The mind is such a complex creation, that the theoretical evolutionary process wouldn’t be able to create such a sophisticated system where these species could simply open and close their eyes and rest a portion of their brain. These species were destined to travel long distances and their bodies were created to handle the journey.
This is all by the design of a grander scale, something that goes beyond our understanding and science. This is the creation of all things alive, through the mystery of God’s work. Through his will, he gives those who are in need, the tool to survive and thrive. The thrushes and birds travel the long distances to avoid the harsh winter chill and they are able to do so, thanks to the blessing that has been bestowed upon them.
Pet ownership can be a deeply emotionally fulfilling experience. People can develop unique bonds with their animals, get an improved sense of purpose and responsibility, and learn new things in the process. Cats and dogs are by far the most popular pets in America, although there are many other options available for prospective owners interested in more exotic animals. Some exotic animals will make better pets than others, and it is important to do ample research on the costs and benefits of owning more unusual pets.
Many people keep fish, birds, and various types of reptiles and amphibians as pets. They tend to require far less attention and care than dogs and cats. Then again, some people who may want to bond more with their pets may prefer dogs and cats over non-mammals. There is a tradeoff with pets between the level of responsibility involved in caring for them, and the amount of interaction that is possible. Reptiles, amphibians, fish, and birds are not housebroken and must stay in cages and tanks. With some species, there is a danger of them escaping from their tanks, and special care must be taken in order to keep them in the right place. Newts and other amphibians could escape from their tanks, only to dry up as they wander around the house towards another water source. Animals like hermit crabs are very adept at getting out of their tanks.
Non-mammals tend to have short life spans, with a few exceptions, such as boa constrictors. Their living situation limits what they can do, and they tend to be very docile pets that require owners to regularly keep their tanks clean and feed them. Of these, birds are the most active. Intelligent exotic birds like parrots require direct mental stimulation, making them far more interactive than similar pets. Having such interesting pets around the house can still liven any living area, whether the pets are active or not.
Raising dogs requires taking them for regular walks, getting regular veterinary checkups, getting them shots, potentially taking them to obedience school, and giving them ample companionship. Dogs are also very affectionate, full of personality, and can be a source of companionship themselves. They are reasonably long-lived, with life spans of a decade or more. Cats are similar and live even longer, although they tend to be easier to keep indoors and require less exercise. Cats tend to be more reserved than dogs, but many of them can still be affectionate. They are probably a good choice for people who prefer indoor activities while dogs can be great for active people who love outdoors activities. It is important to be careful when purchasing dogs and cats or adopting them from shelters. Dogs and cats can be aggressive if not properly socialized. Pet stores tend to purchase dogs and cats that were raised in unethical and unsanitary situations, so adopting from a shelter is usually better. Giving pets a good start in life is always important.
Poisonous snakes are Coral Snakes, Rattle Snakes, Copperheads, and Cottonmouths. Rattlesnakes and Copperheads are almost exclusively in heavily wooded areas such as empty property lots. Cottonmouths a.k.a. the Water Moccasin is very common during times of heavy flooding.
In case you are unlucky enough to come across one and get injured, examine your bite injury. Rattle snakes have a total of four fangs. If you see no fang markings and merely a semi-circular bite mark, then take it easy recognizing you weren’t injected and you just need to be treated for an infection. Do not get too relaxed because you should always take a snake bite seriously and get immediate attention as only experts can tell the difference. When you notice pierce wounds, or if perhaps the rattler clung to you for a long length of time as opposed to a fast strike, then you’re in more severe danger and need to be put in the hospital as quickly as possible.
In certain locations such as the Sonoran desert, small children probably should not roam about around the trail. Hazards consist of cactus sharp needles, rattle snakes, stinging bugs and such animals as gila monsters. Therefore, if you’re traveling there, undoubtedly improve on understanding of any local plant life and animals before you take children out. The additional understanding required to remain secure in such a setting is great intellectual teaching.
Rattlesnake bites are hardly ever fatal. Most towns with medical facilities have anti-venom available.
A rattlesnake is really a heavy-bodied, blunt-tailed reptile with a number of rattles about the tail. It features a triangular-shaped head, significantly broader at the rear than at the front end, along with a distinct “neck” area. The rattlesnake has the benefit of openings between the nostrils and eyes, that is a heat-sensing hole. The eyes are hooded with elliptical pupils. Rattlesnakes have a series of dark and light bands near the tail, just before the rattles which are different from the markings on the rest of the body. Rattles may not always be present, as they are often lost through breakage and are not always developed on the young.
Rattlesnake are Carnivores. They eat Mice, Rodents, Little Wild birds along with other small rats that live in the environments they are in. They play an essential ecological part by restricting the size of rodent populations within their environments. Rattlesnakes lay still with regard to their prey and obliterate it swiftly by using a venomous bite. Whether or not the victim is fortunate enough to escape, it’s going to kick the bucket shortly and also the Rattlesnake will track the scent and then consume it.