What Really is a Therapy Animal? My Guest Answers The Question. I Have Emotional Therapy Cats. Mental Health Awareness.

What Really is a Therapy Animal? My Guest Answers The Question. I Have Emotional Therapy Cats. Mental Health Awareness.

WELCOME Recovery Friends!

One of the best things I did for myself, my recovery, and mental and emotional health is having therapy kitties! Lol. I have three and I love them so much. They help give me focus and purpose in taking care of my Cats. But let’s learn the real difference between a Real Service Animal vs Therapy Animals.

My recovery guest Aurora explains what is a “Therapy Animal?” And be it in recovery, having mental or emotional challenges, and especially for those who have disabilities.

ALL ANIMALS DO bring us such JOY and can Save a Life … ~Cat

(My Mr. Boots and his Box!)

What Really is a Therapy Animal? 


In the past, up until a few years ago, the only types of services animals you regularly heard of, were actual service animals. Mainly dogs who would help their owners who had major physical disabilities.
Over the past few years, the topic of service and therapy animals has increased at an alarming rate. An even more alarming thing is the number of people who were suddenly registering and claiming their pets to be service animals. It’s kind of a hot topic, so what really
is a therapy animal?

Service vs Therapy

A service animal has to go through intensive training before being certified as a service animal. One of the biggest distinguishable features between an actual service dog is they are actually trained for a specific purpose. The ADA website states that a service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do certain work or specific tasks for their owner who has a disability that they are unable to do for themselves.

These tasks can include things such as pulling a wheelchair, retrieving an item that has been dropped, reminding them to take their medication, pushing the elevator button, or alerting a person to a sound. Without these service animals, these individuals would not be able to live with the same level of functionality.


Image result for copyright free service dogs


Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy animals are not service animals. This doesn’t mean they don’t serve a purpose, but they are not a service animal. In addition, animals that are not dogs are not considered to be service animals in almost all cases. If someone comes to you and claims that the iguana on their shoulder is their service animal, it is in fact, not a service animal. They may find comfort in their pet iguana, yes. A certified service animal, it is not.

Registration for a Therapy or Comfort Animal

The ADA recognizes that a therapy or comfort animal can indeed provide comfort and are often used as part of a medical treatment plan. But the ADA website very clearly states that any sort of therapy or emotional support animal is not a service animal.

Strictly speaking concerning animals that are considered to be a therapy or comfort animal, there is a specific process that has to be followed in order for them to be considered a therapy or comfort animal. There are a lot of websites that will send you a service animal vest and a card stating that your pet is a service animal, but these services are actually illegal.

In fact, receiving any sort of certification or registration completed online is not only illegal, but it makes it hard for actual service animals to be allowed in public places, due to the saturation of claimed emotional support animals being toted around in public as if they are trained to do anything aside from providing comfort.

Often, someone will illegally register their pet as a therapy animal in hopes of them “legally” being able to have them in a rental unit that doesn’t allow pets.


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The only legal way to have a pet be considered a therapy or comfort animal is to have a psychiatrist prescribe them as such to you. Most psychiatrists won’t accept patients if this is their sole purpose for treatment, and will only prescribe dogs to previously existing patients.

These prescriptions also expire, as the purpose of an emotional support animal is to provide comfort during a healing period, and you will have to be evaluated on a yearly basis before your prescription to your therapy animal can be renewed.

“Therapy Animal” is a Loose Term

More simply put, a therapy animal doesn’t really have more rights than a regular pet does. And most importantly, if you bring your therapy animal into public and they misbehave, a business has every right to eject you without warning.

This rule is the same as real service animals. However, more and more businesses are likely to turn away a real service animal due to bad experiences with a therapy animal.

Let’s keep it simple for those with legal disabilities to have those “rights” with fewer problems or complications of their importantly needed “Legitimate Service Animals.” 

~Aurora M.

I wanted to add …that my three cats are “Emotional Therapy animals and ae part of my overall mental and emotional managed care plan. We are currently getting ready to move into a new townhome and complex and they as a courtesy waving my pet deposit and the monthly pet fee as they got a letter from my doctor verifying that my pets are for my overall health and emotional well-being.

And our move will is also an important part of my feeling safe as it’s a gated community and will have a bigger place to live and that too will help my overall emotional and mental health as having challenges with Depression – Agoraphobia, and Anxiety … ~Cat


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It’s Recovery Share Sunday! Please Meet My Friends At “The Priory Group”….

Welcome Recovery Friends, Readers, and New Visitors,

I want to introduce my friends from “The Priory Group”! http://www.priorygroup.com  They are a great group of folks, and they offer so many excellent services that address many different area’s to help many people. I wanted though to start with a “Share” of a current article they have posted about “Gambling Addiction,” as they offer information and help with many types of addictions including gambling….

Gambling Addiction Help

A gambling addiction is characterised by the continuous urge to gamble, despite the negative impacts it can have. Problem gambling can cause difficulties in relationships and at work, whilst the cost of funding it can become a huge financial burden.

If you are in need of gambling help you may find that even when you win large sums of money the winnings will be used to fund more bets until they run out. Recently gaming websites have made gambling more accessible, creating issues for problem gamblers who can gamble at all hours of the day and night. Gambling therapy can take place in groups or on an individual basis and aims to ease the destructive effects of problem gambling.

Gambling addiction symptoms

The thrill is linked to risk taking, which induces a natural high. The effect of this altered psychological state is similar to that of stimulant drugs. In the same way that a drug addict becomes preoccupied by their habit so too does the gambling addict. Symptoms of an addiction may include:

  • A preoccupation with gambling and loss of interest in other hobbies
  • Increasing the quantities gambled to recoup lost bets or to experience the same thrill
  • A negative impact upon relationships with those closest to you
  • Concealing the amount of money and time spent betting from family members
  • Stealing money in order to gamble
  • Denial that you have a problem

In addition to these, you may also suffer from physical symptoms. These symptoms include anxiety, alongside irritability, headaches, stomach upsets and stress-related symptoms.

Free initial addiction assessment

We understand embarking upon gambling therapy can be an emotionally turbulent time for you. With this in mind, the Priory offers a free initial assessment with an experienced therapist at all of our addiction treatment hospitals and clinics to help you discuss your addiction in confidence

Addiction treatment at the Priory

Gambling addiction can make you feel as though you are losing control. The main approach to gambling therapy is by using some form of psychological support or intervention. This may involve getting help from professionals or joining a self-help group such as GamCare or Gamblers Anonymous; these groups offer local, telephone and online help.

The first step is to try to understand why the addiction developed, and what other stresses or problems you may be trying to avoid. This may be explored through individual, or group therapy. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective and can help people to understand what triggers gambling and the ways in which you may change your behaviour. Medical treatments can also play an important part in relieving underlying stress or depression.

                    For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding Gambling Addiction, please visit their website at: http://priorygroup.com/gambling-addiction-help-_d

The caring and understanding people at “Priory Group” have a wide range of services. They help with many addiction types, Mental and Emotional illness and disorders, and much more. Here is a little about who they are, and what they do to help share “Hope & Recovery” to others as I do through Recovery….

About the Priory Group

Counselling Session

The Priory Group of Companies is dedicated to helping people to improve their health and wellbeing. We understand that in order for people to achieve high quality clinical and educational outcomes they need individually tailored programs, suiting their specific needs.

The Priory Group has established an unrivalled reputation for providing quality, inspiring innovation and delivering value for its service users.  The Group currently treats more than 70 different conditions through a nationwide network of over 275 facilities that support service user’s health, care, education and specialised needs and include:

The Priory Group was created in 1980 with the purchase of the Priory Hospital, Roehampton by an American healthcare company. The Roehampton site has been in continuous operation since its launch in 1872 by psychiatrist of great distinction, Dr William Wood. Over the following decades the Group acquired more hospitals and diversified its services. In 1993 the Priory Group moved into specialist education services with the purchase of Jacques Hall Foundation, then an adolescent therapeutic community, in Manningtree, Essex.
Our older peoples division was established in May 2009 and is now known as Amore Care. The Priory Group acquired Craegmoor in March 2011 allowing a growth in the Group’s portfolios of hospital and specialist educational colleges. As the market leader in autism and learning disability services, Craegmoor enables the Group to create a new division operating in that marketplace.
Our network of high quality facilities allow us to offer joined up care pathways. We offer programmes which integrate healthcare, therapy, specialist and education services that are tailored according to individual needs in an proper setting. Our integrated strength is that we can provide a seamless transition for the individual as they progress between higher and lower dependency services…

*Now of course they not in the States, but I visit their website all the time for helpful Articles, like the one I shared about Gambling Addiction. They always have good recovery resource information as well. I find it interesting when others ask me, “How can someone get addicted to Gambling”? Why would you waste your money like that?*
I ask them this, why would someone want to become a Drug addict or an Alcoholic? Why would a person stick a needle in their arm and shoot mood altering, loss of control liquid in their veins? Or why does a boozer continue to drink liquid until they are far beyond “Drunk” and black out? It’s called “Loss Of Control”…Gambling is no different. With any addiction, when you lose the “Control” of what ever your vice is, and it takes over and interrupts any area of your life to function as a normal person, thinking, decision-making, and knowing right from wrong is an “ADDICTION”…..and you become “POWERLESS” and have no “CONTROL” addiction.

That is what gambling became for me. 7 years in recovery and I still don’t know “WHEN” I crossed the line into uncontrolled addicted gambling. But, don’t let that hang you up. If anything starts to interfere with your normal way of day-to-day living, it’s a problem. Sex, drugs, alcohol, cutting, food, love, porn,….on and on. With gambling, I began to use it as an “Escape” to all my past traumatic events that happened to me in my life, and current STRESS of life. I used it to “Numb” those feelings, but in the process, I was losing how to “FEEL” anything. I lost the what money was used for, and the “Value of Money”…..You get to a point that you DON’T see all that is happening around you, like loss of jobs, people, family, spouse, time, money, anything. All that matters is gambling. That is the “CYCLE” of any addiction. That is why *STIGMA* is so strong around all addictions. Many who have never been “Touched” by any addiction just don’t understand this.

That is why in recovery, we need good support people around us. Those who understand what we are going through. Same with treatment and recovery support groups. We need to be with others who know what it’s like. There is a reason why AA, GA, NA, and other support groups exist. The one’s who came before us to lay the foundation for all who come after them. And it’s also why I share here on my blog many recovery websites and blogs. It’s a way for me to continue that “Legacy” to help others in recovery.
The internet has opened a whole world of recovery resources right from our homes. I really do hope my friends who come to visit my blog can learn a little something when they take the time to see what I share of my recovery, and the many resources I find and share with others!

So I hope you will take some time to go visit and explore “Priory Groups” website. Maybe you’ll find and read something that may HELP you today! I “Thank” them for letting me “Share” all they do for others….

God Bless All,
Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon