AY About You wants to help our readers take care of themselves, stay refreshed and less stressed with our new weekly feature Wellness Wednesday. Each Wednesday, we will have an article about health and wellness to promote all around well-being. That means physically, mentally and emotionally!


Whether you are an animal-lover or not, research has shown that animals can play an important role in therapy to help those recover from or better cope with health problems. 


Pet Partners is a national nonprofit organization promoting health and wellness benefits of animal-assisted interventions. The following are the three types of animal-assisted interventions as defined by Pet Partners:


Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) is a goal-oriented, planned, structured, and documented therapeutic intervention directed by health and human service providers as part of their profession.


Animal-Assisted Education (AAE) is a goal-oriented, planned, and structured intervention directed by a general education or special education professional.


Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) provide opportunities for motivational, educational, and/or recreational benefits to enhance quality of life. 


All three-assisted interventions can be of help to individuals with disabilities, victims of abuse or trauma and the elderly. They are commonly seen at mental health care facilities, memory care facilities, nursing homes, hospitals and even universities. 


There is a local community chapter called Pet Partners of Central Arkansas with trained volunteers and certified pets that visit various places such as Pinnacle Pointe Behavioral Hospital, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Arkansas Heart Hospital, Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport and more. 


Visits have been put temporarily on hold due to COVID-19, but they offer patients a happy distraction that can lead to reduced stress and anxiety. Studies have also shown that they improve blood pressure and cardiovascular health. 


President of Pet Partners of Central Arkansas Mary Armstrong tells AY she hopes that they will be able to resume soon because it makes the pets happy as well. 


If you have pets at home, enjoy spending more time with them since they can improve your health!


READ MORE: Dealing with Anxiety During Difficult Times