28 / 21
      32 / 14
      17 / 5

      The benefits of pet therapy

      Whisper has been a pet therapy dog for the past four years. Her handler, Naomi, says owning a therapy dog is an amazing experience.

      "We work with the Peter White Public Reading Program, and there was one moment last year where I was sitting there with a child and he was reading to Whisper. He kept reading and kept reading and he progressively got better. She actually fell asleep. I told him before, 'If you're doing a great job, she'll fall asleep.' So that was a great moment of this is awesome and I'm so glad in doing it," said Naomi Noordyk, registered Pet Partner handler.

      Bijou has been a pet therapy dog for a year and a half and what makes him so special is that he loves to cuddle.

      "He'll jump in anybody's lap, and he was actually given to me because his previous owner knew that he needed a job, and he's perfect for this type of work," said Patty Cornish, registered Pet Partner handler.

      Pet therapy allows a well-trained cat or dog to interact with other people.

      On the TV6 & FOX UP Facebook wall, Shelley Petrin-Carson said, "We just started animal assisted therapy at the hospital I work at. It benefits everyone from patients and staff to the animals and their handlers."

      Some of the physical and mental benefits of pet therapy include:

      -lowers blood pressure

      -diminishes overall physical pain

      -decreases feelings of isolation

      -encourages communication

      If you are interested in using your own dog for therapy, obedience classes and a registration process is required.

      "Anybody can do it, any type of dog can do it. It has to do with obedience and an aptitude for enjoying meeting people," Cornish said.

      For more information, click here.