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Pet Companions: Very Special Animal Friends

Hello readers!

I am pleased to introduce our guest blogger Jackie Mroczka. Jackie graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 2012, and has since pursued a certificate from Cornell University in Hospitality Management. While at Penn State, she earned Deans List honors several times.

During her time at resorts, Jackie has written newsletters on a variety of travel destinations and attractions. She has two children which she enjoys going on adventures with, and currently resides in the Orlando area.

In her spare time, Jackie continues to progress her passions for volunteering, running, swimming, biking and exploring new areas. She is looking forward to her journey with New Hope for Kids.

~Rosie Wilder
New Hope for Kids
“Wishes for Kids” Director

 

Pet Companions: Very Special Animal Friends

by Jaclyn Mroczka, Guest Blogger

Pet companions provide numerous benefits for children that have emotional or physical disabilities. Some tasks that they assist with include carrying emergency phones to the owner, answering the door, and bringing beverages for medication. Have you noticed a service dog while you were going about your day and wondered how the animal is helping its owner? Companions go through a thorough training process to ensure that they can assist their owners with specific needs. Each child’s circumstances target different types of therapy which results in the unique training necessary for the pet to fit the family. According to the NSAR, the National Service Animal Registry, there are service animals, psychiatric service dogs, emotional support animals, and therapy animals, that can help perform major life tasks to assist people with disabilities. One pet companion specializes in posture or mobility, while another responds to a situation or alerts a family member of an emergency. Another benefit of a pet companion is assisting a child in the bonding process. This can be accomplished through the increased comfort levels the pet brings to the child. They have found pet companions especially beneficial to children without siblings. The companion gives the child someone to bond with, day in and day out.

Our animal friends help us trust in our abilities, cheer us up when we have a bad day, and be there for us no matter what. Children with companions find that they are more comfortable around their pet, and that their animal helps them to do things that they find difficult. Research continues on benefits, however, they have found evidence that pet companions can help a child concentrate more, calm down, and focus on their tasks. They have also noticed signs of reduced stress and anxiety, and increased self-esteem and learning. These benefits help children with physical or emotional disabilities complete their assignments with more ease.

Pets accept us and our flaws. They do not judge us, and they love us for who we are. When you walk through the door, they greet you and are always happy to see you. This feeling is greatly appreciated by the family. Our walls come down, we trust others and find new ways to have fun. After all, isn’t that a large part of what we want to accomplish for our children? We want to help our kids have fun, and provide them with comfort, even when tremendous challenges and obstacles exist. Pet companions learn from our child, our child learns from them, and they both have fun in the process. What could be better than that?!

References:

“Pet Therapy: Animals as Co-therapists.” Pet Therapy: Animals as Co-therapists. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016

“Animal Service Type Definitions.” National Service Animal Registry. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

 

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