Horizon Blog

Meet Horizon’s Newest Therapy Dog!

December 30th, 2020

therapy dogHorizon is excited to announce the addition of another therapy dog, Aurora, thanks to the generosity of the Chris Maloney Legacy Foundation! The Chris Maloney Legacy Foundation’s mission is to raise awareness of the growing issues surrounding addiction and has close ties with Horizon. With proceeds raised from their latest fundraising campaign, they decided to fund another therapy dog for our residential program. Aurora will be joining the Horizon Village campus in Sanborn, NY, specifically at Freedom Village. While Aurora will be working with the patients on the campus when her training is complete, she has found her forever home with one of our counselors!

Benefits of a Therapy Dog

There is no disputing the value of a therapy dog. The interaction between a human and a dog releases dopamine and serotonin, the “things” that make you feel good. Many patients, when they first start their recovery journey, have trouble opening up about their past. However, with a dog who has zero judgements and provides unconditional love, they can make one feel more comfortable in a new setting and allow an immediate bond to form.

Several research studies have proven that interacting with dogs can reduce stress responses, anxiety, fear, and other nervous disorders—which are all feelings that can lead to a relapse.

Other benefits include:

  • Lowered blood pressure and heart rate
  • Increased beta-endorphin levels, which reduces physical pain
  • Reduced feelings of anger, hostility and tension
  • Increased feelings of empowerment, trust, patience and self-esteem
  • Stabilize and improve a person’s social skills as he or she learns gentle ways to communicate with and handle the dog
  • Give a person in recovery responsibilities, such as feeding and grooming
  • Brighten a person’s mood due to the pleasure and affection gained while playing with the dog
  • Improve a person’s ability to express feelings by identifying how an animal might feel in a certain situation
  • Reduce anxiety and fear by forming a bond of love and comfort with the dog

Horizon’s adoption of a therapy dog program continues to improve and enhance practices, maintaining Horizon’s high-quality treatment and recovery programs. We have seen significant strides in one’s recovery journey due to the use of our therapy dogs and we are excited to continue to grow this program! Welcome Aurora to the Horizon team!

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