Can animals help people?

Helpers at home and in therapy

There are also psychosocial assistance dogs. They should provide stability and security in everyday life and help their owners to live independently and self-determined. They are used, among other things, for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), autism, anxiety disorders, depression or personality disorders. Sick children can also benefit from the animal companion, trust themselves more and become more self-confident.

These dogs are used very successfully as companions for soldiers with PTSD. "Often no human therapist can approach these people and the medical possibilities have been exhausted," says Ledwina. Those affected can no longer cope with their everyday lives. You have to avoid crowds of people, for example in public places or in supermarkets, in order not to cause stressful memories. They also withdraw from friends, family members and comrades.

Together with a dog, the way out of isolation can be achieved. »The dog provides security among people and ensures the necessary distance from other people. In stressful situations he gives security, nudges or licks his master or mistress. Another effect: taking care of the dog gives the soldier self-confidence, but also forces him to become more active again and to work with the animal, ”explains the dog trainer.

The situation at home can also relax. In the case of nightmares or anxiety, the dog recognizes the need, wakes the person and, if necessary, brings him a rescue package with medication. It is important that the animal can neither replace psychotherapeutic treatment nor drugs (8).