Why Pet Therapy is Extremely Important

 In Enrichment

Animals are an important part of many peoples’ lives. The companionship and entertainment that they provide can have wonderful effects on one’s mental and physical health. Animal interactions such as pet therapy have been shown to offer a number of benefits including reducing blood pressure,  reducing stress, improving cardiovascular health, alleviating pain, and of course… just some pure joy! 

Pet Therapy Isn’t Just for Dogs

All the benefits that animals provide are important, not only to our residents but to our employees as well. As such, an important part of our campus has always been the assortment of animals within the facility. Over the years, this has included resident cats, birds, frogs, turtles, and fish — as well as a number of visiting dogs, cats, pigs, chickens, horses, and goats too!

 

An elderly woman pulls her mask down to play with two sweet dogs for pet therapy.

On occasion, our life enrichment team organizes these fun animal visits as unique experiences. Sometimes we have wonderful volunteers with therapy animals visit, and other times, our own staff are kind enough to bring in their well-behaved animals for residents to interact with.

Some OESH employees even bring their own dogs into work with them on a regular basis, and you can often see them playing together in the newly completed dog park or greeting our visitors at the door. Many residents know these regular dog visitors by name and will keep a stash of dog treats handy to encourage regular visits  from their favorite furry friends!  

Becoming a Therapy Animal

Pet therapy can be a fun and fulfilling way to bond with your animal while giving back to your community. Many training classes are available to teach animals the skills they’ll need to become a therapy animal. Hospitals and long-term living communities are always glad to have new volunteers offering pet therapy to residents! What’s more is that any animal can become a therapy animal as long as they are able to pass the test. There are also a number of helpful therapy training hints to get you and your little friend started on the path toward pet therapy certification.