Willow Creek Pet Center’s Donation to the Intermountain Therapy Animals (ITA) “Paws on the Trolley” Gala helps in the training, screening and continued support of therapy animals helping others. The Mission of the ITA is enhancing quality of life through the human-animal bond.
ITA recruits, screens, trains and tests volunteers and their pets . Once registered and insured, the pets visit hospitals, nursing homes, special education and residential treatment facilities, schools, libraries, psychiatric facilities, prisons and detention centers. Some of the larger facilities include Primary Children’s Hospital, Shriner’s Hospital for children, the Utah State Prison and the Huntsman Cancer Hospital to just name a few.
It has been proven that the presence of an animal in a therapeutic setting motivates speech, movement and exercise as well as reinforces learning, stimulates the senses and facilitates counseling. Physiological and emotional benefits include lowered blood pressure and respiratory rates, decreased loneliness, comfort, feelings of trust, safety and self-esteem. An animal can be a source of unconditional acceptance and love. Pet-facilitated therapy is very effective with patients who often won’t interact well with people or respond to people.
With the help of donations, these services are free and make a huge difference in the lives of many.