When you visit the Cornerstone clinic, you’re as likely to be greeted by our reception team as you are our therapy dog, Loki. He plays a key role in our animal-assisted therapy programs, but he’s sure to be waiting to greet you with a smile as you arrive, as well.

Of course on that note it’s important to point out that patients with allergies or who simply don’t enjoy the presence of a dog can contact us in advance of an appointment. In this case, we’ll respectfully ensure that Loki is happily at work elsewhere. Serenity Saturdays represent a set of dog-free time slots as well – more to be read on that, here.

So what is animal-assisted therapy, and is it in line with what Cornerstone strives to offer its patients?

Animal-assisted therapy

 

At the root of animal-assisted therapy is simply the presence of animals, and the relationships they can quickly establish with patients. It’s the nature of those relationships that open the door to therapeutic opportunities, and because the connection is an easy one to make results can be seen and felt immediately.

For example, the hormone oxytocin not only lowers blood pressure and heart rate, it also contributes to your ability to heal. It’s produced by our body in social bonding situations, working with therapy animals is proven to increase it. From a chemistry perspective, there are tried and true benefits to spending time with therapy animals for this reason.

From a social perspective, animal-assisted therapy can help patients develop social skills and cue recognition, that can be translated in peer-to-peer situations. Transparency is the driving force of these interactions, as animals will respond positively or negatively based on how a patient engages, absent social etiquette restrictions.

Cornerstone and Loki

 

In our minds, Loki couldn’t be closer in line with what the clinic is all about. These organic, restorative bonds are effective on physical, emotional, and psychological levels. They create an atmosphere of trust and inherent admiration that empowers our patients to let go of stress and be true to themselves, absent judgment.

At the end of the day, this is a result that can be as effective opening the door to treatments as it is remedying some conditions entirely. In either instance we’re proud to consider Loki a member of the team, and for more information on animal-assisted therapy or to schedule a time to visit, please feel free to contact us through our website or on social media.

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