A little bit of background
Aside from being cute and snuggly is there anything beyond logic that supports the use of this therapeutic intervention? The bond between dog and person is nothing new. It is believed this relationship dates back before civilization, that we had a symbiotic relationship in the days of hunting and gathering. In modern times, dogs have been widely used as service animals, supporting the quality of life of people for decades. Over the last 35 years research has been supporting the use of animals to promote health, dating back to a benchmark study in 1980 which demonstrated the benefits of pet ownership of patients discharged from a coronary care program. While more research is needed, specifically to explain which conditions Canine Assisted Therapy work best, emerging research is promising. With that said, implementing use of a canine, in this case, Jack, is done in a highly strategic way while being mindful of documented strategies that have been successful.
It should also be noted that Jack will never be used in lieu of strategies that have already been shown to be effective (e.g. cognitive behavior therapy for anxiety). However, the hope is that by adding Jack to the treatment team, established interventions may be enhanced.