Tango’s story is a beautiful picture of how much dogs love us humans. Even though he’d been abused and abandoned, this “mutt” is now a therapy dog for children and the elderly!
Tango, from Abuse to Animal-assisted Therapy
Tango works with volunteers in the Red Cross dog-assisted therapy project in Camp de Morvedre, Valencia. Each week he pays visits to elderly residents. He’s also involved in the “School Success” program, which helps children with special educational needs.
By using dogs in therapy they hope to:
- Help bring people (young and old) out of isolation, or prevent it, by improving their socialization and integration.
- Encourage older adults to keep active to prevent motor deterioration.
Every week, children and elderly people excitedly await Tango’s visit. The sweet, calm, affectionate little guy wins the hearts of every single person he meets, starting from his very first day.
However, what makes this story remarkable is that Tango got played a bad hand of the worst of human beings, but he’s given the very best of himself. It always seems to be the case that good treatment and affection can heal all.
Someone abandoned Tango five years before in Port de Sagunt, and rescuers saw signs of abuse. However, volunteers at the Red Cross saw potential in him. In fact, they thought they could make him into a therapy dog.
The Red Cross decided to begin these dog-assisted therapy programs after observing how the social problem of isolation is affecting an ever increasing number of older adults.
Not only that, but the number of children having trouble relating to one another well is also increasing. For example, these days, it’s not unusual to find young people playing on their own during playtime at school.
The affection and joy Tango gives is very powerful in reversing this situation. His presence alone improves people’s self-esteem and encourages social relationships between them.
Apart from the psychological benefits of having Tango around, he also helps rehabilitate people with reduced mobility, encouraging them to do more physical activity.
Therapy with dogs and other animals is growing in popularity because of the great results that people are seeing from it. In particular, people who interact with animals show signs of improvement in physical, psychological, cognitive and social aspects.
But how does it work? First of all, animals give affection unconditionally. And they don’t judge or discriminate, which is the complete opposite of what many humans tend to do.
As a result, people who are vulnerable for physical, mental, or emotional reasons feel safer when they’re with therapy dogs. Therein lies the key to their potential recuperation.
The Benefits of Dog-assisted Therapy
Some things that people have achieved with therapy animals include:
- Improved motor skills and balance.
- Better verbal interaction in groups.
- Heightened concentration, attention, and memory.
- Greater self-esteem.
- Increased vocabulary.
- Reduced anxiety.
- Reduced feeling of loneliness.
Aside from specific therapies, having the steady company and love of a dog is certainly one of the best things in life. Don’t you think?
Source of photos: Facebook of Cruz Roja Camp de Morvedre