We Need Pets
MAN’S BEST FRIENDS
Since the beginning of time, their closeness has been comforting for the human being. For some decades, the study of such closeness has become a therapy that saves animals from their straying conditions.
In order to rescue an abandoned dog, beyond the classic freephone of ENPA – 800253608, or 1515 – this year a new project connects the voluntary associations in Italy: Pronto Soccorso Animali TV. A system which tells live the volunteers actions: from assistance of an abandoned animal up to adoption. The project supports the various voluntary associations which record by means of a video camera the route to the place of intervention and the rescue of the animal until its arrangement into a veterinary clinic. The video will be then sent to the following email address: email@example.com.
Cruelty to animals is a crime punished by jail sentence up to fifteen months and a pecuniary penalty ranging from three-thousand to eighteen-thousand euro. It is possible to make a statement to the CID Officers both directly or by phone.
From rescue to company, which becomes a therapy: pet therapy. This term has been created by American psychiatrist Boris Levinson in the early Sixties, it means ‘therapy provided by an affection animal’. A practice that supports other forms of traditional therapy which exploits the positive effects provided by the closeness of a pet to a person. The pet therapy allows animals to become ‘physicians” for men.
Text Manuela Porta
Casa Pediatrica Fatebenefratelli in Milan provides the first hospital Pet Therapy service in Italy, thanks to the strict cooperation with Frida’s Friends Onlus association which guarantees its dogs with the respective operators to take care of little patients, both during leisure time and when anxiety and fear prevail.
«Our hospital –Professor Luca Bernardo, Chief Physician at Casa Pediatrica explains – has been the first to allow children to carry their pet with them also in the ward not to interrupt the symbiosis and daily affectivity relationship they experience at home. For those who do not have their own pet, our hospital offers a twice-weekly Pet Therapy support thanks to single dogs, dedicated and personalized according to the patient, in the presence of a psychologist».
«Pet Therapy – Mario Colombo, president of Frida’s Friends Onlus association, explains – is effectively applied within the healthcare and social-assistance fields, rehabilitation communities and nursing homes, thus assuring broad-spectrum benefits: it enhance self-esteem, it develops relational skills, it improves motor and verbal abilities and offers a positive attitude towards life».
Special reference needs to be made to interventions with disabled children and kids who thanks to the relationship with a pet acquire more enthusiasm in facing small and big everyday progresses.
As to preteens and teens, the relationship with a pet can become a means to reflect about the past or the present, stimulating concepts like respect, trust and reciprocity.
It is essential to underline that Pet Therapy represents a co-therapy, that is an additional and not a replacing therapy: «especially in case of long stay children patients – Professor Luca Bernardo explains – physical contact with pets has proven to have positive results. According to medical studies carried out on three-hundred children, a decrease in anxiety and stress levels is recorded. This survey is aimed at evaluating the effects of the presence of a dog during particularly stressing moments for a child. This is due to the fact that interactions with Pet Therapy animals can influence the increase in dopamine (the substance of happiness which is spontaneously produced by our body) thus reducing cortisol (produced by stress). Despite the bill, Pet Therapy has not yet been recognised by the Italian National Health System and not all the Italian patients can benefit from it, unless they rely upon the support of NPOs».