The Finding of a Therapy Cat: a series about Tinkerbelle, Registered Pet Partner Therapy Cat (retired) and our journey together.
By Mollie Hunt
Part 13: Frequently asked questions
Now that Tinkerbelle and I were getting the hang of being Pet Partners, we found that many people were interested in what we did. Some were the people we visited and some were friends and acquaintances who heard about our therapy work. They began to ask questions. This was always number one:
What is the difference between a Therapy Animal, a Service Animal, and an Emotional Support Animal?
Therapy animals like Tinkerbelle provide affection and comfort to people in facilities such as hospitals, retirement homes, and schools. These pets have a special aptitude for interacting with members of the public and enjoy doing so. Therapy animal owners volunteer their time to visit with their animal in the community.
Assistance Animals, or “service” animals, are most commonly dogs or miniature horses trained to aid people with disabilities. These include guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, and dogs who to provide mobility assistance or communicate medical alerts. They are considered working animals, not pets.
Emotional Support Animals, sometimes also referred to as a “comfort” animal, are pets who provide therapeutic support to a person with mental illness. To be designated as an emotional support animal, the pet must be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional.
Tink served for four years as a registered Pet Partner Therapy Cat, visiting assisted living facilities and hospice patients. Tink is now retired and living the quiet life. Check out her Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/TinkerbelleTheTherapyCat/
About Mollie Hunt:
Mollie is the author of the Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series, featuring Lynley Cannon, a sixty-something cat shelter volunteer who finds more trouble than a cat in catnip. Mollie is a member of the Oregon Writers’ Colony, Sisters in Crime, and the Cat Writers’ Association. This year she won a CWA Muse Medallion for her 3-part blogpost series, “Life Stages”.
Like Lynley, Mollie is a grateful shelter volunteer. She is a longtime volunteer for the Oregon Humane Society where she socializes sad, fearful, and behavior-challenged cats. She also fosters sick and elderly cats in her home. In 2014, she had the privilege to work with cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy on a particularly thought-provoking case.
You can find Mollie on her Website: http://www.lecatts.wordpress.com/, her Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/molliehunt, and her Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MollieHuntCatWriter/.
Sign up for her Extremely Informal Newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/c0fOTn.