Heartwarming stuff

Animal-loving video playlists

Please click this icon in the top left corner of the videos below to browse the playlists.


Therapeutic benefits of contact with animals – or, why humans love animals


This playlist contains 7 videos.


  1. How pet therapy (and contact with animals) works
  2. Dogs reduce stress – Harvard Report
  3. Buddy on BBC Breakfast sofa
  4. YouTube user Danielle Jacobs posted a video of her suffering what she calls an Asperger’s “meltdown.” The footage captures her service dog Samson using his paws to stop her from self-harming.
  5. Labrador patiently interacts with Downs Syndrome child
  6. Cat has remarkable bond with severely autistic girl
  7. Dogs welcoming soldiers back home. Features a lot of joyous face licking!

Patients’ own pets


This playlist contains 5 videos.


  1. The healing power of pets. A cancer specialist describes the importance of integrating understanding of patients’ relationship with their pets into the hospital’s care of the patient.
  2. Canadian general hospital encourages visits from patients’ pets. This fantastic scheme also organises foster care for hospital patients. Amazing.
  3. Dogs Trust Hope Project – Welcoming Dogs In Hostels. Wards have many patients who are homeless or in housing crisis, so it’s really helpful to have advice about how hostels can take homeless residents with their dogs. The Hope project also helps with vet bills for homeless people’s dogs.
  4. Dogs Trust Freedom Project. Another great project from Dogs Trust, in Greater London, Hertfordshire and Yorkshire. The Freedom Project provides foster carers for families fleeing domestic violence as most refuges don’t take dogs and many people won’t leave violent partners for fear of what would happen to their (often also abused) dog. They also have a partnership with Cats Protection so cats can also be fostered, in Greater London and Hertfordshire.
  5. Integrating Animals into Occupational Therapy practice. Looks at social and therapeutic benefits of people having a pet.

Resident pets


This playlist contains 7 videos.


  1. Beginners guide to fishkeeping
  2. Pets 101 Rabbits
  3. Pets 101 Guinea pigs
  4. Pets 101 Hamsters
  5. Pets 101 Cats
  6. Keeping urban chickens
  7. Keeping guinea pigs outdoors

Animals visiting wards (& other care settings)


This playlist contains 9 videos.


  1. Eden Alternative nursing home, full of life and pets. In fact the home’s mortality rates are 25% lower than ‘traditional’ nursing homes, and medication rates dropped. The video helpfully addresses concerns about residents tripping, being afraid of the animals etc.
  2. Madison the former shelter dog that now helps people at a mental health clinic. Really interesting that some of the adult patients enjoy reading to Madison and that the homeless patients find her rescue story inspiring and motivating. And a classic, heart-melting story about a very angry patient who wouldn’t relate to any of the staff but was transformed, happy, fulfilled when being with Madison. (Small note – in the UK, Pets as Therapy dogs are invariably kept on a lead.)
  3. Bunny visits hospice
  4. Therapy mini-horses! This might sound like an ‘only in America’ thing, but Grimsby also has visiting horses! Here’s me very very happily riding one at the opening of the new Therapeutic Community at the incomparable Harrison House Hospital.
  5. Llamas Bring Happiness to Nursing Home. Although I haven’t come across llamas visiting a mental health hospital in the UK, some have visiting days by ‘exotic animals’ including snakes, birds of prey etc.
  6. Therapy dogs help wounded warriors recover – at American army medical hospital
  7. Pet Therapy at American children’s psychiatric hospital
  8. Inmates and dogs train and bond in jail
  9. Wags 4 Kids – prisoners train assistance dogs

Alternatives to real life animals


This playlist contains 2 YouTube videos and a link to BBC Wildlife.


  1. Why You Still Love Your Teddy Bear. Cuddly animals and other attachment/transitional/comfort objects
  2. Meet Kelly, the new dog on the block. Remarkably lifelike, responsive toy dog. It’s also possible to buy interactive toy cats, bunnies, and even ponies! What a brilliant addition to a family visiting room, as well as for some wards, especially those with dementia patients.
  3. BBC Wildlife. The BBC has a wonderful collection of videos about creatures from ants to antelopes. Enough for many afternoons of viewing delights.

Enjoying wildlife


This playlist contains 4 YouTube videos and a link to the BBC website.


  1. How to attract wildlife into your garden
  2. British wildlife
  3. RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch: How to attract birds to your garden
  4. BBC Garden bird lovers. (Includes national treasure Sir David Attenborough.)
  5. Songs of 15 UK Birds. Tuning into birds singing is a great way of tuning out painful thoughts and feeling really in tune with nature.

Assistance dogs


This playlist contains 2 videos.


  1. Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham – support for visually impaired patients and visitors.
  2. Legal access for guide dogs

Visits to animals off-site


This playlist contains 4 videos.


  1. Although you’ll be particularly lucky to have nearby one of the UK’s 200 ‘care farm’ (which exists to provide warm engagement with animals and nature for vulnerable and disabled people), lots of farms welcome visitors, especially those willing to muck in!
  2. Overview of what care farms are about
  3. One of my favourite places in the world – Animal World in Dorset.
  4. What are National Nature Reserves?

Heartwarming, hilarious and helpful


This playlist contains 4 YouTube videos and 4 links to other sites.


  1. Watching This Close-Up Video Of Dachshund Puppies Will Instantly Make Your Day 100% Better
  2. Barking up the right tree
  3. One hundred and eight million views – because this video of a dog ‘having a conversation’ with his human is very funny and brilliantly done.
  4. Heroic Labrador rescues two dogs trapped in canoe
  5. Dog self-tobogganing
  6. Two legged dog
  7. Dogs take horses for a walk
  8. Blind retriever saves drowning girl