Pet therapy programs enable volunteers to bring their dogs to a designated residential healthcare facility and interact with the residents or patients. Volunteers visit the residents in common areas and in their individual rooms where they assist their four-legged therapists work their magic. Conversations are stimulated with staff and residents about our dogs. Quiet, submissive patients often come to life as we enter the room and talk about us long after we’re gone.
National studies have confirmed the therapeutic effects of animals upon humans. Pet therapy visitations provide a warm and comforting presence, patient listeners and a relaxing interlude to residents of healthcare facilities. Stroking a pet can aid in relaxation which relieves stress and anxiety and lowers blood pressure. Petting also encourages the use of hands and arms, stretching and turning to run hands over the soft, warm silky fur of our hounds. Residents become more active and responsive both during and after a visit. Our visits offer entertainment and a welcome distraction from pain, loneliness, and the routine of their environment. We often provide a renewal of friendships and awaken memories of a loved pet.
Greyhounds are perfect therapy dogs due to their outgoing and friendly nature, gentle and docile disposition, and quiet manner. Their tall stature makes them easily accessible to the bedridden and residents in wheelchairs. During a visit a group of greys will work together as professionals in a calm and quiet, well-mannered team cheerfully searching out the next resident to visit and to provide love to. Their reward is a gentle touch or a scratch behind the ear or even a biscuit once in a while.
Greensboro-based Pat’s Pets is a group of friendly dogs (and their people) committed to visiting folks of all ages for the purpose of bringing joy and sunshine into their lives. A simple wag of a tail or a canine “grin” can brighten anyone’s day!
Helping Paws is an all-volunteer non-profit founded and headquartered in Raleigh, NC. We are dedicated to helping the less fortunate of our communities – both human and animal. Our mission is to train, test, certify, insure, and support our Therapy Dogs/Pets, B.A.R.K.S. Book Buddies Literacy Dogs/Pets, Disaster Support Dogs and Service/Assistance/PTSD Dogs.
Specifically, our goals are to: 1) lift the hearts & spirits of those needing emotional support; 2) expand the minds and futures of children through literacy; 3) support a patient’s physical, speech, or occupational therapy goals; 4) promote the healing power of animals; 5) support and promote greyhound and pet rescue; and 6) prove rescues have value and can contribute positively to their communities.
PTInc in the Carolinas provides registration, support, and insurance for members who are involved in volunteer animal assisted activities. This is a network of caring individuals who are willing to share their special animals in order to bring happiness and cheer to others, young and old alike. We host numerous monthly pet therapy visits at nursing homes, hospitals, adult daycare centers, etc.
Although our group started with greyhounds, we now welcome all dog breeds and mixes. Participating dogs must be registered therapy dogs or working to become registered. Several members of our group are Tester/Observers for the Alliance of Therapy Dogs and will be happy to guide you through the simple process.
Please contact Karen Ferguson at 803-831-9766 or by email at FergieQ@aol.com to learn more.
How great it is to hear from you and to be asked to share the mutual love for our dogs. What a wonderful job you are doing! Not only do you give us, who can’t enjoy the usual love from our pet friends, the additional real therapy of lowering high blood pressure, unsolicited affection, comfort of the gentle nudges of an affectionate nose or more important, the delicious pleasure of just being – loved!
When person decides to enter a retirement or nursing home, we quickly have to adjust – bend, not break – for it is a real change from being a “pilot of our own ship,” so to speak. The love of a cherished pet is generally the first thing we have to deny ourselves. We understand, but it sure is hard to bear when we have always had this tender love at our beck and call. It is through the caring efforts of folks like you who really lessen the loss in our lives and we love you for it. All of life has many important parts and when we have to omit some of them, we don’t always recognize where emptiness is coming from.
As adults who are actually assuming the role of “child” once again, we are usually so busy trying to keep our heads above water that we don’t realize the loss of our beloved pets. Thank you so much for bringing these sweet, precious dogs into our lives. We cannot always express ourselves, but believe me, we always feel so much better after having a visit. God bless you for your compassion and understanding. This will help you walk in our shoes when the time comes!
Much love to all those who willing donate time to this project. You are doing a marvelous job! Hopefully, whatever input I can give will help. May many more join us!
– Mary Elks, resident at The Masonic and Eastern Star Home in Greensboro, NC