More Than a Best Friend: Service Animals Improve Quality of Life

If you’ve visited one of our PACE Centers in California, Colorado or New Mexico, you’ve probably seen a furry friend roaming the halls greeting participants in their path. This is likely one of our service animals or therapy dogs.

Gizmo, an InnovAge companionship dog

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that animals (service, therapy or companionship) have been known to provide physical and mental health benefits to those around them. Studies show animal companionship can greatly affect the quality of our lives. Below are some of the theorized advantages:

Physical Health Benefits

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Regulated heart rate
  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Lower levels of stress
  • Fewer doctor visits
  • Fewer sick days off from work
  • More exercise

Mental Health Benefits

  • Sense of responsibility
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Greater empathy
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Increased participation in social and physical activities
  • Less loneliness

Service vs. therapy vs. companionship

Service animals must be individually trained to perform tasks related to a participant’s disabilities while therapy animals belong to a therapist or psychiatric personnel and must be accompanied by them at all times.

Service animals are trained to behave flawlessly in public and will even tuck themselves under tables so as not to be an inconvenience to those around them. Therapy animals often provide comfort and companionship to others by listening to them read or accompanying them during appointments.

Companionship animals are virtually indistinguishable from the family pet and may not behave perfectly in public. For this reason, companionship animals are not allowed in most public places and must remain at home.

For more information

Get more information about a service animal for yourself or a family member.

To schedule a tour of a PACE Center please call 888-992-4464, email or visit our Locations page to find a center near you.