Rabat- Cats, dogs, rabbits and other furry animals can soon accompany patients on their journey toward recovery, beginning June 28 in Souissi Children’s Hospital, Rabat.Perhaps one of the most-anticipated and needed additions to Morocco’s health system is animal-assisted therapy, due to the many benefits it gives to the patient’s emotional and psychological well-being. The first of its kind in the country will be dedicated to children battling illness in Rabat’s Children Hospital, thanks to an initiative by the Friends of the Children’s Hospital in Rabat Association (AAHER) and the High Institute of Audiovisual Works and Cinemas. The inauguration of the space provided for pet-therapy will take place on June 28, after a fundraising gala set for June 6 at Allal El Fassi Theater in Rabat. Another fundraising gala is scheduled for the day of the inauguration at Annakhil Palace in Temara, south of Rabat.Children living or visiting the hospital will be able to bond with the animals, an experience that helps children heal and provides more affection for animals. It is to be hoped this first step will encourage more pet-therapy spaces to open in hospitals throughout the kingdom, so that a larger population can benefit from its physical and psychological advantages.The advantages of pet-therapyFor both adults and children, having animals around as a form of treatment has proved therapeutic across the world. Pets like dogs or other animals encourage physical activity and social interaction, while animals like rabbits or cats help relieve stress.Calming animals can also soothe easily-irritated or angry patients by prompting the body to release endorphins, chemicals that produce a calming effect.Patients suffering from depression or mental diseases can benefit exceedingly from the presence of a pet, especially ferrets, according to The Douglas Institute, which specializes in serving people with mental health problems.