A therapy dog is providing virtual therapy sessions for frontline workers

Apr 21 2020, 9:00 am

It is a stressful time for all of us, and everyone is feeling the tension and anxiety that comes with the uncertainty of not knowing when things will improve and return to normal.

During challenging times like these, it is understandable to experience a toll on mental health. Luckily, a therapy dog is hoping to help one virtual therapy session at a time.

Ricochet, the golden retriever, is a therapy dog with Pawsitive Teams, a non-profit organization operating in San Diego, California, that trains service dogs for those with disabilities.

More specifically, Ricochet is part of theΒ Canine Inspired Community Reintegration (CICR) program, a partnership between Pawsitive Teams and the Naval Medical Center San Diego.

Now, Ricochet is reporting for duty by providing online therapy sessions via FaceTime for essential workers who need her most.

“Are you a healthcare worker or anyone else feeling anxious, stressed, depressed, scared, overwhelmed or any other unsettling emotion during this Covid-19 pandemic?” a post on Ricochet’s official website asks.

“Do you wish therapy dogs weren’t social distancing so they could provide some comfort? Well, Ricochet does… and she’s teamed up with her Pawsitive Teams Therapy Dog crew to provide virtual canine therapy! ”

According to the website, making eye contact with a dog can reduce anxiety. Even looking at a photo of a dog’s eyes can be soothing.

The site explains that after only 30 to 60 seconds of looking at an image, your brain triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone known to reduce anxiety and create a sense of calm.

Ricochet is providing virtual therapy sessions for doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, first responders, as well as essential workers and families who have lost a loved one.

“During this time of feeling helpless, the more we share, the more people we can reach and the more helpful we can feel,” a post on Ricochet’s Facebook states.

There is no denying that times are tough right now, and we may forget to consider the mental toll that it is taking on essential workers and healthcare professionals, who are risking their lives to keep the rest of the world safe on a daily basis.

Services such as these allow essential workers to get the assistance they may need to continue on with the fight.

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