One of the Most Rewarding Things You Can Do With Your Animal

June 29, 2017
Claire Smith, ASCO staff

As any pet owner knows, animals have an amazing ability to make us feel better when we’re down. But have you ever considered how your pet might be able to help someone with cancer?share on twitter As a registered therapy animal team, you and your pet can offer people with cancer comfort, assistance with physical therapy, and more.

In this expert podcast, registered nurse Leslie Horton explains the role of therapy animals, offers tips about training your pet to be a therapy animal, and shares stories from her 17 years as the Coordinator for the Animal-Assisted Care Program at Inova Health Systems in Virginia.

  • What are the distinctions between a working animal, a service animal, an emotional support animal, and a therapy animal? [1:15]

  • What characteristics should a therapy animal have? [3:07]

  • What should someone know about training their pet to be a therapy animal? [3:59]

  • What are some of the roles a therapy animal team can serve in, outside a medical setting? [6:29]

  • What are some of the different terms used for visits with therapy animals?[7:50]

  • What should you expect before and during a hospital visit? [10:23]

  • What are some of the ways a therapy animal can make a difference for a person with cancer? [11:32]

As Leslie says, “You will never find something more rewarding and you will never underestimate the power of your dog again, because you will see them do things that you never thought were possible. They will connect with a patient that no one else could connect with. They will bring meaning to a life for someone who is extremely depressed and sad. They have the ability to cross barriers that sometimes other humans just cannot.”

This is a prerecorded audio podcast. It can be listened to online or downloaded to your computer. A transcript of this podcast is also available. For more information, visit the Cancer.Net podcast page.