We are sure some of you have heard of animal assisted therapies such as equine therapy, pet therapy and dolphin therapy that have been used with people experiencing a range of emotional and behavioural problems. To be clear there is little scientific evidence to show if these sort of interventions help. We don't even know what it is about having contact with animals that people say makes them feel better or more engaged in activities. Having said this there is clearly some type of interaction that most people think is helpful. There are even dedicated therapy centres where the sole intervention involves interacting with animals. Most of us might see a cute cat or dog and try to bond with it in some way, but the feeling isn't always mutual.
A family from Oregon recently had the experience of having to deal with a very unhappy cat. The article describes the Oregon owners of a 22lb housecat that trapped them in their bedroom after a family member had been playing with it. The cat, offended by the idea of being played with, started using the family for a claw sharpener. The owners claim they’re not giving up on their pet and are getting it medical attention and therapy. So it would seem that not every pet is a suitable candidate for providing therapy and in some cases probably needs to be the recipient of therapy. We look forward to seeing a job description and person specification for all candidate pet therapists.