PHOTO MARTIN MAHER 087-2565705 NO REPRO FEE
IRISH THERAPY DOGS VOLUNTEER MEETING
PHOTO SHOWS PROFESSORS SANDRA AND RANDOLPH BARKER WITH BENSON AT THE IRISH THERAPY DOGS VOLUNTEER MEETING IN BEWLEYS HOTEL LEOPARDSTOWN ON SAT 23-02-2013.
World-Class Researchers Speak at
Irish Therapy Dogs Volunteers’ Meeting
Eminent academics, Professors Sandra and Randolph Barker from The Centre for
Human-Animal Interaction (CHAI), Virginia Commonwealth University, U.S.A.
www.chai.vcu.edu were recent guest speakers at the Irish Therapy Dogs Annual
Volunteers’ Meeting. The couple flew to Dublin especially for the meeting, and riveted
the audience by presenting their latest cutting-edge research.
Recent studies have proved, beyond doubt, that canine companionship brings health
benefits. As well as lowering blood pressure, playing with a dog increases production
of serotonin and dopamine, both of which help to calm and relax us. Current research
at CHAI is focused on the effect of animal-assisted therapy on patients referred for
pain management and palliative care. Another fascinating study documents brainwave
activity in adults whilst interacting with a therapy dog.
Stroking, holding and fussing a dog can calm and soothe the most stressed of us. The
companionship of a dog brings comfort, helps ease anxiety and boosts our mood.
Irish Therapy Dogs, a registered charity founded in 2008, has undertaken the task of
establishing a national network of volunteers, who, accompanied by their faithful dogs,
visit residences where the companionship of a dog is missing. Today, more than 250
teams (a handler and their dog) make weekly visits to day care centres, hospices,
hospitals, long-stay nursing homes, schools and retirement homes all across the
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole
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