Barcelona’s Sant Joan de Deus was the first Hospital in Spain to open a unit with canine assistance to give emotional support to children and their families.
In 2012 the Hospital successfully implemented and integrated dog therapy and assistance for medical visits (makes the experience more pleasant and shorter), emergency room (to calm down and distract patients – specially children) as well as psychology and dentistry among others.
The assistance with this specially trained dogs not only has a positive effect on kids – 95% of parents have stated that they feel more relief and less stressed when they see their children interacting with a dog in these situations.
However Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) and Animal Assisted Activities (AAA) have been in use in countries like the United States for quiet some time now – specially with children and the elderly. Horses and cats can also make excellent therapy animals but the unique bond canines and humans share makes them the most common choice.
The positive effect dogs have on kids and most people overall is a fact. With the right dog around us we tend to feel happier, safer and more relaxed – even if it is for a moment, often stress seems to go away.
New studies go as far as suggesting that when dogs are around, groups are more cooperative and more trusting.
Central Michigan University (CMU) researchers concluded that having a companion dog during group meetings could improve employee emotions and enhance communication.
“Dogs are a social lubricant – when work teams are first formed, it often takes a while for people to get comfortable with each other, but having a dog in the room seems to put people more to ease” says psychology professor Stephen Colarelli from CMU.
Companion dogs can certainly influence positive prosocial behaviours. Groups show more verbal and physical closeness signs while in presence of these animals as well as increased helpful behaviour, energy, enthusiasm and attentiveness.
At Barcelona Ambassadors we firmly believe in the positive effect of companion dogs in group dynamics. We are animal lovers and we’ve experienced how – specially dogs – can play a big role in overcoming obstacles and improving actions that benefit us.