For hundreds of years animals have been used in therapy in numerous ways. More recently, there has been an increase in the use of animals in therapy with the elderly, children and adolescents, ad adults. The quantity of research on the effectiveness of utilizing animals in therapy has also increased. Findings generally suggest that animals do have therapeutic effects on people suffering from loneliness, isolation, emotional distress, learning and language disabilities, and autism. Despite the fact that a large amount of research has been conducted in this area, there is no up-to-date and comprehensive review of the literature. This paper is a comprehensive review of the literature on pet-facilitated therapy. Both the variety of animals utilized in therapy and the variety of populations found to be amenable to pet-facilitated therapy are discussed. Research findings and future directions are also discussed.
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