Benefits of Animal Assisted Interactions

Sharing the love of your pet is probably the best volunteer “job” ever!  The importance of the human-animal bond has been documented for many centuries.  But over the last few decades, scientific research has revealed that interacting with a friendly animal can provide many physiological and psychological benefits:

 

Physiological benefits

  • Lowers blood pressure and heart rate
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Releases endorphins (oxytocin) that reduce pain and have a calming effect

 

Psychological benefits

  • Lifts spirits and reduces depression
  • Encourages communication and socialization
  • Provides comfort
  • Decreases anxiety
  • Increases self-esteem
  • Reduces boredom

 

Additional benefits depend upon your choice of volunteer activity.  For example, if you decide to volunteer with your pet in a literacy program, you will be helping to improve a young person’s reading skills.  You and your pet may be engaged in helping a person improve motor skills if you volunteer in a rehabilitation facility.  The opportunities are endless!

 

So let’s get started!