Children in therapy can have trust issues. According to Matas, S. (2012),”Boris Levinson discovered that his pet dog, Jingles, served as an icebreaker when working with withdrawn children.” The animal can act as a bridge between the child and the therapist. Many children are suspicious of therapy and therapists, and seeing a positive interaction between the therapist and the animal help the child feel more at ease and will see the therapist less threatening. When there is an animal in the room, the child can see the environment as friendly, safe and normal. The animal does is not aware of the child’s appearance, family life, and social status, and does not judge the child. The animal only accepts the child for who they are. Eventually, this can help the child be able to discuss difficult issues.
Trouble teens can often at times relate better to animals than to adults. With substance abuse on the rise in teenagers, this can result in low self-esteem and difficulty in transitioning into productive adults, Pace, K. (1996). Having teens work with horses, they can often see their own attitudes being mirrored by the animal. Horses can sense the feelings of others and will often mimic the attitudes of the people around them. The horse’s nonverbal communication and nonjudgmental ways can help the teenagers to build trust, set boundaries, and relate to others. Delgadillo, P. (2011). Teenagers work with other animals than horses in therapy. Using animal therapy can increase a teen’s confidence, create a positive attitude, and develop better communication skills. Having to take on the responsibility of caring for an animal, the teen can learn life skills that will follow them through their lives. Teaching an animal to do simple commands, such as to sit or lay down, requires the teen and the animal to respect and communicate with each other. After working to help raise an animal for a period, sometimes an animal is adopted out. The teenager will learn how to deal with the emotional loss of a loved one, and will learn how to work through those feelings. They will learn to talk about their feelings of loss and know that they will survive the loss. To a teen, the relationship with an animal feels easy and uncomplicated. They learn that when they give love and respect, the will receive it back from the animal. The teen will also be able to watch the animal’s body language because that is the way the animal communicates.
In the United States today, one of the faster growing populations that are growing is the geriatric population. With this being said, the Bureau of Census predicts that older Americans will come to live in some long term care facility, US Bureau of Census, (1996). Most of these people will be women, who no longer have their spouse with them. The long term care facilities that these people will have to move to, limit the amount of personal belonging, including the possession of pets. Most of the elderly consider their pets as family, and having to leave