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Unique Therapy Animals

Not all therapy animals are dogs. Keep reading to learn more!

To conclude my mini-series on service animals, I want to highlight all of the other critters that can become service animals. That’s right, dogs aren’t the only ones!

Back in August 2013, Time magazine put together a list of top service animals. The list included:

  • Miniature horses: these animals are great for service because of their small size and calm personalities. The organization Horse Hugs was founded because owner Sandy Spooner wanted to show the unique ability these horses have to help patients in hospitals, nursing homes and assisted care facilities deal with loneliness, pain and depression. No matter how small, can you imagine seeing a miniature horse wandering around a hospital? But patients love them, once they get over the shock of such a sight!
  • Dolphins: these animals can help those who live with cerebral palsy and autism because of their gentle nature and gracefulness in water. Dolphin-assisted therapy dates back to the 1950’s. It still continues to this day in places near the coast, such as Island Dolphin Care in Florida.
  • Alpacas: these creatures resemble small llamas, and have been used as therapy animals to boost health and happiness. A children’s hospital in Oregon now has an alpaca and a llama that both help lift the spirits of the sick kids!
  • Capuchin monkey: these critters can be service animals for the disabled. The organization “Helping Hands: Monkeys for the Disabled” has already trained more than 93 monkeys to live with and assist severely disabled or paralyzed people.

As an animal lover, it is not hard for me to imagine how much these critters can help with the different disorders and disabilities that humans have. I personally hope that if I ever need to stay in a hospital (which I am sure that I will) that I will get a visit from an alpaca.

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