Brighter Pathways ©  2013

Welcome!. Dr. M.. Our Office. Services. Follow-up Solutions. Interventions. Testing/Diagnoses. Gifted & Talented. Learning Disabilities. ADD/ADHD. Behavior/Emotional. Our Therapy Dogs. Third Pig Book. Dr. M's Messages. "Life Lessons". Location/Contact Us.

1237 E. Livingston Street, Suite B

Orlando, FL 32803-5401

Ph: 407-895-0540 ~ Fax: (407) 228-9771

Licenses:  SS00305 ~ MH02676 ~ PCE-9

Dog Whisperer Boo: Therapy Dog Pets Benefit the Brain!

AAT Therapy Dogs


Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) -- the deliberate inclusion of an animal in a treatment plan -- is built on age-old principles:  domesticated animals provide companionship, add a sense of safety and protection, encourage physical activity, and foster social interaction with others


Pets are a common denominator in American homes.  Children especially can share private moments and companionship during lonely or stressful times. Animals teach children responsibilities of daily living, compassion for other creatures, and the cycles of life and death. They help build self-esteem and self-confidence, too.


Animals & Mental Health    

A pet is an island of sanity in what appears to be an insane world.”—Dr. Boris Levinson, Child Psychologist

Mental-health practitioners are now tapping into this unique pet-people bond for its potential therapeutic value. In one survey, close to half of the psychiatrists, psychologists, and family practice physicians reported that they have prescribed pets for their patients to combat loneliness, depression, and other emotional problems including inactivity and stress. Animals provide unconditional affection, warmth, perspective, amusement, and a sense of being needed.

Animals can give us a realistic, naturalistic touchstone--a baseline of behavior against which we can compare our own troubles and put our lives into perspective. For example, simply watching a fish tank during dental treatment and oral surgery is used to reduce anxiety.  


AAT & Children    

“Animals are a perfect example of psychological symbiosis: pets need people to care for them, and some people love to care for pets”. –Phil Arkow, AAT Specialist

Animals in therapy are non-threatening and non-judgmental.   Therapy dogs in particular are regarded as "man's best friends." Dependent and dependable, therapy animals…


· Provide unconditional positive regard

· Serve as catalysts to social interaction

· Stimulate innate nurturing responses

· Offer a sense of mastery

· Allow consistent, non-judgmental acceptance

· Build bridges for interpersonal communication/attachment

AAT at Brighter Pathways  

“The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.”--Samuel Butler, "Higgledy-Piggledy," 1912



Dr. Messenger is delighted to have her beloved Golden Doodles as AAT affiliates into her practice. By combining AAT with traditional principals, the therapeutic process goes faster and “funner.”   In most cases, however, the primary job of the

Therapy Dogs is simply to entertain the children during parent consultation time.  In their spare time, the Therapy

Dogs ~ Lacy, Valarie, Kelsey and Ginger ~ also visit Assisted Living Facilities, Skilled Nursing Care Homes, and hospitals.