Behavioral disorders, depression, Alzheimer’s… Can our dogs and cats help us?

Can animals heal us? Can a cat’s purr or a dog’s hugs reduce our anxiety? For Audrey Desrosiers, animal therapist, the answer is obvious.

On the set of the newspaper this Monday, October 24, Audrey Desrosiers was invited. Quebec zootherapist, Audrey Desrosiers comes to initiate in Belgium to register in her discipline in the course of health. Established for fifteen years in Quebec, zootherapy is done in collaboration with other medical professions and has been arriving in Belgium for two years, “precursor in Europe”. Useful for various ailments, it is used as an aid for “behavioral disorders, attachment disorder, Alzheimer’s, dementia, Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, depression”

But how is this possible? “The first contact with an animal, it reduces our heart rate and our blood pressure, so physiologically it already feels good”, explained Audrey Desrosiers. Also, the animal “to register in the emotional memory” and undoubtedly reduces anxiety, especially for people with Alzheimer’s who have a chronological memory disorder.

“Motivation for the child”

Audrey Desrosiers gives a concrete example of a 4-year-old girl who struggles to pronounce words of three syllables or more. “So we’re going to do a course with the dog, we make the tunnel, we make the hoop then we’re going to associate an image with it, like Pants and we’re going to try to pronounce this word with the dog by jumping in the hoops for phonological awarenessnot invited. The animal is really part of our intervention and it is absolutely motivating for the child to repeat the words and work on them.”

The benefits of the company of animals are therefore no longer to be proven according to the zootherapist: “During the pandemic, one in two people bought an animal”, notes the practitioner.

At the end of the muzzle, the zootherapeutic revolution, Audrey Desrosiers


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