Most people intimately understand the emotional benefits of the bond shared between human and dog.
However, many are unaware that this powerful tool can actually help promote recovery among patients who are experiencing long hospital stays, or have encountered recent trauma.
After the reintroduction of occupational therapy at the John L Grove Rehabilitation Unit, Launceston General Hospital is set to explore the integration of animal therapy into their patient rehabilitation programs.
Senior Occupational Therapist Jodie Sullivan and her nine-year-old Husky cross German Shepherd, Ivy, will begin working as a team within the hospital's animal assisted therapy program in January.
"The idea of having her around is to make sessions a bit more motivating and more meaningful for the patients," she said.
"Traditionally we do upper limb strengthening programs in the gym, which can sometimes become mundane, so by implementing Ivy, patients can throw her a ball and give her treats, which are still the same movements but just in a more meaningful environment."
Ms Sullivan said that in order for her and Ivy to become a qualified duo, they had to undergo a week-long training course with Therapy Dogs Australia.
Here, Ivy was tested on her behaviour, manners and obedience, while Ms Sullivan needed to prove she was able to sufficiently read her dogs behaviour.
"The most important part of it was judging her temperament" she said.
"They needed to see that Ivy actually wanted to be around people, and she definitely did."
St Helens resident, Max Presnell, who is a Patient at the John L Grove Rehabilitation Unit, said having Ivy around made it easier to deal with the absence of his dog, who he hadn't seen since moving into the ward a few months ago.
"I still miss my dog very much but it would be lovely having Ivy here all the time," he said.
Ms Sullivan is hoping that occupational therapy week, which began on Monday, will promote the work of OT's in the health setting, while encouraging members of the public to consider it as a career.
Occupational therapists treat injured, ill, or disabled patients through the therapeutic use of everyday activities and help these patients develop, recover, improve, as well as maintain skills needed for daily living.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.