Assisted therapy has been proven to be beneficial to people. This
therapy can encompass occupational, physical, and emotional therapy.
Therapy Dogs provide emotional therapy. Studies have shown that when not
only petting an animal but just touching them increases the endorphins
generated in the pleasure centers of the brain. These naturally
occurring endorphins lower blood pressure, provide pain relief, and give
a general feeling of relaxation. In schools and prisons studies have
indicated that just having a dog walk into a room will change the
atmosphere and dynamics that are occurring. The number of disciplinary
referrals is lowered when there is a resident dog in the room.
Therapy Dogs is a group of therapy dog teams from
Fredericksburg, Stafford, King George, Westmoreland and Spotsylvania
counties who share love and provide comfort to the surrounding community
through a variety of animal-assisted therapy programs and activities.
Throughout the year the group participates in parades, health and
educational fairs and exhibits; church animal ministries; visits to
nursing home; local hospitals; homeless shelters and adult day care
centers. Blue Gray Therapy Dogs (formally known as SpiritKeepers) was founded by Sue Peetoom, Nancy Moon, and Linda Damiano in 1996. Blue Gray Therapy Dogs currently has over 80 participating teams and continues to grow yearly.