Canine-assisted therapy

What is canine-assisted therapy? 

Canine-assisted therapy, also known as dog-assisted therapy and a type of pet therapy, is where a therapy dog acts as a ‘mediator’ and interacts with patients. A trained therapist is always present during sessions and a triangular relationship is established between the healthcare professional, patient and dog. Canine-assisted therapy is an alternative or complementary therapy used alongside conventional therapies. 

Who might benefit from canine-assisted therapy? 

Canine-assisted therapy can be recommended for patients with orthopaedic and neurological conditions. It is offered as a complementary therapy to those already available at Clinique Valmont. The 45-minute sessions are tailored to help meet the specific needs of each patient. 
Canine-assisted therapy can be offered to the following inpatients and outpatients: 
    - Patients with cancer and neurodegenerative diseases (multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, etc.)
    - Patients with chronic pain
    - Patients with depression
    - Patients who have had a stroke
    - Patients who have had total hip/knee replacement surgery 
    - etc. 

What are the potential benefits of canine-assisted therapy? 

Canine-assisted therapy can help patients with their physical and mental health. Therapy dogs make it possible for patients to engage in specific activities that aim to improve both their health and quality of life. The animals boost motivation and encourage patients to achieve their goals. 
Canine-assisted therapy can also help patients to come to terms with their disability and regain their self-confidence. Therapy dogs are a source of comfort and reassurance to patients by providing company and friendship and making them forget their everyday problems, pain and condition in order to build a relationship with these caring and non-judgemental creatures. 
Canine-assisted therapy can be recommended for patients with neurological conditions to help speech deficits, visual deficits and unilateral spatial neglect as well as upper limb mobility, balance and movements. 
Therapy dogs help patients who are admitted to the clinic with a disability to regain a sense of purpose and a need for achievement. 

What can canine-assisted therapy help with? 

Pet therapy is specific to each patient and is not suitable for all patients. It is a bespoke complementary therapy that can help each healthcare professional to achieve goals set with patients in terms of their physical, emotional and mental health, including:
-    Self-worth and self-confidence 
-    Communication through gaze, gestures and speech 
-    Other people’s perceptions 
-    Post-fall syndrome
-    Balance and movement
-    Unilateral spatial neglect
-    Attention problems
-    Fine motor skills and apraxia
-    Picking up objects 
-    etc.

What type of dog is at Clinique Valmont? 

We have a blonde Bouvier des Flandres called Sanka Saru at Clinique Valmont. He has been bred and trained to help patients who have a neurological or orthopaedic condition. 

Who can practise canine-assisted therapy? 

Canine-assisted therapy can only be practised by a therapist who has a degree in medicine or healthcare as well as training in pet therapy. The therapist incorporates the dog into their professional practice for enhanced patient care.

Why have canine-assisted therapy at Clinique Valmont? 

Clinique Valmont has an extensive team of healthcare professionals who are committed to delivering quality care to patients. It is therefore the perfect place to explore new treatment options and improve your physical, emotional and mental health.