Background: Recently, interest in nonpharmaceutical interventions in dementia care has increased. Animal-assisted therapy has been shown to be one promising intervention but more knowledge is needed. The present article reports on a pilot study involving an 84-year-old woman with vascular dementia who was systematically trained with a therapy dog team for 8 weeks.
Methods: A quasi-experimental longitudinal interventional design with pre-post measures was used. Data were collected on 3 occasions. Descriptive statistics were used for data analysis.
Results: Some effects on the woman's ability to walk and move were identified. In addition, some effects in the woman's cognitive state were observed.
Conclusions: Physical, psychological, and/or social training with certified therapy dog teams can have effects on behavioral and psychological symptoms in people living with dementia. Further research is needed.