Seems to be the project of our time. We have more requests for information about pet therapy programs than any other topic. It is important to understand that there is some therapy going on in any human/pet relationship.
Of course, it is the perfect example of how humans and animals should co-exist. There are many sources of information about these programs, and here is an overview of what Pet Assisted Therapy does. If this proves to be an interesting subject for you look at the bottom of this page for some sites you should see.
Pet Therapy programs provide humans the "spiritual" resource of animals. You have heard, I am sure, of the studies which have been conducted establishing stress reduction through human interaction with pets. Some reports have gone so far as to say they have proven the relationship reduces high blood pressure. All reports show the positive benefits of the soothing psyche of pets to the sick and the elderly.
If you consider the role of pets in the lives of humans through history, I think you will conclude as do I, that pet assisted therapy is the ultimate co-existence of the species. By it's nature, it establishes the virtue of pets as companions in the true sense, in that it establishes a partnership between the human and the pet. It also seems to explain how domestic animals could become gods in ancient cultures. When cared for and treated with respect, pets are able to give us peace, compassion, understanding, and unconditional love,. All of the virtues and gifts necessary to improve and maintain health, and live functional, productive and satisfying lives.