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Pet therapy healing pandemic loneliness in Japan

Japanese officials hope new programs can reduce animal culling in country

Cat wearing mask. (Getty Images photo)

Cat wearing mask. (Getty Images photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Animal therapy is catching on in Japan as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and more people seek to heal the pains of extended social isolation.

The trend is on for both the young and old, with universities in Tokyo introducing therapy dogs to students. Meanwhile, nursing homes and facilities for disabled individuals are setting up spaces where residents and animals can interact.

Showa Women’s University in Tokyo, for example, is holding these sessions to help students readjust to in-person classes that resumed after Japan’s state of emergency finished at the end of September, according to a report by the Japan Times.

The animals at Showa came from the Animal Therapy Kokoro Support Association, a local group that rescues, trains, and provides animals to various organizations, including private firms.

Anispi, a Tokyo-based company that operates facilities for disabled individuals across the country, has placed furry friends in about 600 of its facilities over the past three years.

In August, Japan’s Environment Ministry said it is planning to send rescued stray dogs and cats to hospitals and nursing homes to keep inpatients and residents company, according to Jiji Press. The ministry is also monitoring related initiatives to see if they may play a part in reducing the number of animal cullings across the country, per the Japan Times.

Updated : 2022-01-25 02:22 GMT+08:00