Therapy Pets in Multimedia

With the advent of new multimedia platforms, such as YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo, and many more, there are now increasing venues to display images, videos, music, etc.  These multimedia platforms have traditionally used for entertainment, news, displaying a message; however, their role in the field of public health is only beginning.  In the foreseeable future, they will be increasingly used as venues for public service announcements and education.  At the same time, there are many uses that multimedia platforms are not utilized for in public health.  The one I am referring to in specifically is in aiding the treatment of people by reducing stress.  One such way is using multimedia for therapy pets.

For those who are unaware of therapy pets, it is the use of animals to aid in recovery and stress reduction of ill patients.  It is also commonly used in stressful environments, such as schools during exam seasons.  Many studies have shown that animals create feelings of well being and can aid in increasing happiness and reducing stress.  (For those interested, here is a scientific publication regarding this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22233395).

So an important campaign to promote is to utilize animals and pets through the form of multimedia platforms to create the same effects.  There are both pros and cons to this.

Pros: No maintenance of animals, accessibility, ability to use for those allergic to animals, etc.

Cons: Not enough research whether animals have to be seen in person, time to make videos/take pictures

With that said, my own personal experience is that by seeing a picture of a cute dog or another animal, I am instantly in a better mood.  After surveying friends and family, they have all agreed they shared my sentiment.  Further research can be done to more accurately prove this.  If proven, multimedia use to see cute animals can have a wide variety of purpose.  It could be as simple as a public health recommendation to start your day by watching a cute animal video, thus putting you in a better mood and reducing stress.

I will end this post with the following videos.  Enjoy!

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3 thoughts on “Therapy Pets in Multimedia

  1. I want to say something cynical like “seriously, people need to get over dog/cat videos online.” But then i watch just one of them and I feel awesome. Like you, it makes me wonder about the therapeutic impacts of watching these things.

    • I think the popularity of these videos is research enough into their benefit; a million viewers can’t be wrong, can they? But then we have thought that about a lot of things that are later proven incorrect. It would be interesting to see this tested scientifically.

      • There is a social component here too… typically these get forwarded and collective warm fuzzies are felt by family and friends. I second guessed admitting this publicly, but my wife and I have an odd Friday tradition of trying to find cute puppy gifs and sharing them with each other. Enjoy, they have managed to stay the test of time regarding things we do to distract ourselves with. http://everydayboredom.com/10-of-the-cutest-puppy-gifs-8-will-melt-your-heart/

        Perhaps some A/B testing could see if these videos have some of the same positive effects as actual therapy animals. Would this also work in Prisons? Similar to the calming affect of painting a wall pink for example.

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