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[Audio] Dr. Bordieri Says Pets Can Benefit Mental Health But Should Not Replace Regular Therapy

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On Sounds Good, Dr. Michael Bordieri and Tracy Ross discuss the psychological benefits of pet ownership and pet therapy.


Bordieri says some studies suggest pet owners have higher self-esteem and may be more outgoing. He says pets can be momentarily beneficial to mental health but research is mixed when it comes to the impact of animal-assisted therapy.


Then the question is, is feeling good in the moment enough for therapy to be effective? I think we have to start thinking about short-term versus long-term goals of therapy,” Bordieri said.


Bordieri says playing with a dog may be more fun than regular therapy, which can push people out of their comfort zones, but there is no scientific evidence to support replacing proven therapeutic treatments with pet therapy.


When I go on vacation or I go out on my day off and explore some area in Kentucky, I don’t conduct a study first to make sure I’m going to have a good time I, you know, explore. And sometimes my ideas don’t work out so great, fun was not had by all. But that’s okay because the risk is relatively low,” Bordieri said. “But when we talk about people who are really struggling with depression or anxiety and who really are in need of support, then the risk is quite high if we give them a treatment that doesn’t have that level of support and confidence behind it.”

Tracy started working for WKMS in 1994 while attending Murray State University. After receiving his Bachelors and Masters degrees from MSU he was hired as Operations/Web/Sports Director in 2000. Tracy hosted All Things Considered from 2004-2012 and has served as host/producer of several music shows including Cafe Jazz, and Jazz Horizons. In 2001, Tracy revived Beyond The Edge, a legacy alternative music program that had been on hiatus for several years. Tracy was named Program Director in 2011 and created the midday music and conversation program Sounds Good in 2012 which he hosts Monday-Thursday. Tracy lives in Murray with his wife, son and daughter.
A proud native of Murray, Kentucky, Allison grew up roaming the forests of western Kentucky and visiting national parks across the country. She graduated in 2014 from Murray State University where she studied Environmental Sustainability, Television Production, and Spanish. She loves meeting new people, questioning everything, and dancing through the sun and the rain. She hopes to make a positive impact in this world several endeavors at a time.
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