April 15, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Students in Linda Chamberlain’s Health 150 (Stress and Stress Management) class had the opportunity last week to interact with trained service dogs as a form of stress relief.

Handlers Lex Dietz and Daniel Bradley with the Jackson County-based agency, Supporting Independence Through Teamwork (SIT) Service Dogs, brought two of their favorite canine friends to showcase to the class in “Mr. Banks” and “Matthew.”

The dogs are most commonly used for people with disabilities and medical problems.

According to Dietz, SIT offers canine therapy programs, educational programs and training.

Benefits of canine-assisted therapy, Dietz said, include: decreased stress; increased physical activity; improved communication and social skills; relief from anxiety and depression; nurturing and affection; setting and respecting boundaries; motivation to participate in therapy fully; elevated mood; decreased blood pressure; and increased attention and focus through hands-on interaction.

“Service dogs are held to a higher standard of training than typical therapy dogs and are required to complete public access training,” Dietz said. “We have found our canine-assisted therapy program to be instantly gratifying for patients with long-lasting (positive) effects.”

Chamberlain said the interaction with dogs and her students was not only educational, but a “great example” of stress relief. 

 

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Dr. Steve O’Keefe at 618-985-2828 ext. 8569 or email at steveokeefe@jalc.edu.