Tallahassee Memorial Animal Therapy has been the only program of its kind in the Big Bend since 2005. Animal Therapy animals, consisting of an animal and a handler, visit hospital patients, rehabilitation centers, assisted living facilities, hospices, adult daycare centers, public schools, courthouses and more. Handlers are thoroughly screened and the animals must meet strict training certifications. The program includes dogs, cats, parrots, miniature horses, alpacas, rabbits and a goat.
Their animals started visiting the CDA in January of 2019. These visits allow our dispatchers a brief reprieve during hectic shifts. The attention the animals give each person help with decompressing from difficult calls, busy shifts, and long days. Some animals have also made their selves available if the center experiences a crisis.
THE HUMAN-ANIMAL BOND
The type of phone calls and the stress of being responsible for the lives of the first responders made the CDA an excellent candidate for animal visits and “hugs.”
At the CDA, we recognize that well-trained handlers and their animals can benefit the health and well-being of our members. Pet therapy builds on the pre-existing human-animal bond. Interacting with a friendly pet can help many physical and mental issues. It can help reduce blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health. It can also release endorphins that produce a calming effect. This can help alleviate pain, reduce stress, and improve your overall psychological state.