Therapy Cats Available

The healing power of therapy pets could help victims cope with tragedy.

By Steve Dale, CABC | Posted: December 19, 2012, 12 p.m. EST

Steve Dale
Author Steve Dale

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The unimaginable tragedy of losing a child must be the most profound grief on the planet. Parents who lost children in the Newtown, Conn., Sandy Hook Elementary School attack know this. In addition, the children who survived were traumatized as well. Experts suggest that being so young, the children exposed to the events of December 14 are more resilient than older kids or adults.

People grieve differently and find comfort in different ways. It's been demonstrated that pets can help. Obviously, they are non-judgmental, and some seem to know just when and how to help.

After 9/11, first responders sought out search and rescue dogs simply to hug them. Soon, “comfort dogs” appeared where families gathered. Many said this seem to offer a sense of well-being and security, especially for the children, but also for adults.

This role isn't limited to dogs, cats can also make a difference. It seems purr machines do relax people, and adorable kittens can often elicit smiles. Kitten Associates, Inc., a small home foster cat rescue group in Newton, Conn., is offering kitten playtime as a form of therapy for local children. Play sessions will last 30 minutes, and each visiting child will receive a plush kitten. If you live in the area, and are interested, email

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Reader Comments

Jeanette    Staten Island, NY

1/22/2013 12:41:12 PM

Excellent article. Even during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy the Red Cross brought therapy dogs from door to door as we worked. It was really special especially for the children.

Naomi    International

1/19/2013 12:19:35 PM

People should already know that animals have healing powers. They are true 'friends' to us humans. Examples are Dewey the library cat and Oscar who makes his rounds in a nursing home. All my animals that I have had over the years have given me so much -- I am so blessed to have them in my life. Keep up with these kinds of articles to inform everyone.

Jo Ann    Lodgepole, NE

1/17/2013 5:27:14 PM

Outstanding article! Pets are healing.

ashley    orange, CA

1/11/2013 10:59:26 PM


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