Pet Therapy!

Our furry visitors are companions, friends and comforters.

When volunteers bring a gaggle of tail-wagging dogs to Westminster Canterbury Richmond, the positive energy is palpable.  Residents, family and staff stop to pet and talk and smile at the joy on four paws.   Pet Therapy has become widely accepted throughout senior living communities, and you might be surprised at the many benefits of Fido’s regular visits.

The simple act of caring for a pet — brushing, feeding and nurturing — can be life-changing for seniors. Walking a dog is great cardiovascular exercise, but more importantly, pets make seniors feel needed.  That emotion can translate into a greater sense of purpose and self-worth.   The unconditional love of a dog or cat can be a bridge to more socialization with others.  The silky feel of a dog’s furry ear and comfort of a cat’s nuzzle are often instantly calming.  For our memory care residents, an animal’s non-verbal communication and profound acceptance are especially soothing.   In addition, animal visits might spark memories of a long ago treasured dog or cat.

Pet visits have other benefits to recipients, including:

  • mental stimulation
  • renewed interest in life
  • improved appetite
  • increased tactile and cognitive stimulation
  • lower blood pressure
  • less depression
  • reduced boredom

 
Our focus on the importance of both a healthy mind and body is what makes us a leader in senior living. If you would like to learn more about Westminster Canterbury Richmond’s Pet Therapy Program, and how you could get involved, please contact Kathy Morton at kmorton@wcrichmond.org or 804-261-5201.

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