Animals Helping Ease Teen Trauma
July 8, 2016

Animals Are Being Used to Ease Teen Trauma After Orlando Shooting

The New York Times recently wrote an article reporting on the surprising helpers brought in to comfort those experiencing trauma or stress after the Orlando Shooting: therapy dogs. The K-9 Comfort Dogs team brought 12 golden retrievers to Orlando.

This is just one example of how therapy animals have helped relieve stress and deal with traumatic events. Recently, therapy animals have become a popular treatment option for teen trauma; now, comfort dogs are regularly brought onto college campuses–even some high schools–during exams in order to help students de-stress.

An Unconditional Bond

“Dogs show unconditional love.” –Tim Hetzner, President of Charity which runs K-9 Comfort Dog unit

Dogs–and therapy animals in general–offer a unique relationship that is hard to find in peers and adults. The relationship provides a strong bond which is judgement-free and uncomplicated. Animals also have a way of offering up unconditional love with no questions asked, something many teen trauma victims desperately need. Studies have shown that animal therapy has the ability to improve teen trauma symptoms, especially in those who experienced childhood abuse. It’s easy to see the effects of one’s actions when dealing with a therapy animal, which helps teens develop a better understanding natural consequences and boundaries. The use of therapy animals is a great way for a teen trauma victim to learn to build a positive relationship in a safe, healthy, and simple way.

Other Animals Used in Therapy

Animal therapy isn’t isolated to just comfort dogs, it can be with cats, horses, rabbits, and more. Though therapy animals aren’t necessarily considered “service animals,” they can be extremely effective in a teen trauma victim’s progress and success. Therapy dogs and horses are some of the most common animals used for animal therapy. The act of caring for these animals develops responsibility, relationship-building skills, respect, boundaries, and more.
For more information about helping your child struggling with teen trauma, check out Solstice East.

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