If you or a loved one have experienced being bed or wheelchair bound due to illness or injury, you can understand how lonely and frustrating the loss of independence can be.
The Santa Cruz SPCA has mobilized the healing power of many four-legged caregivers through their program: Peaceful Paw Comfort Canines. These professional snugglers are brought to folks in hospice centers, senior communities, hospitals and assisted living centers to offer animal companionship. Doesn’t this just make you want to support the SPCA with a Santa Cruz car donation?
Dogs have the special ability to greet every person with enthusiasm no matter who they are or what their level of communication might be. Most people enjoy the soft fur and cheerful personalities of a dog or cat. Companionship with a pet can reduce depression, encourage movement, ease loneliness and boost moods.
When possible, activity coordinators of nursing homes should try to coordinate consistent pets visits into their programs to give a delightful break of the structured routines for their patients. Ideally, every nursing home would own pets for their residents to provide lightheartedness. If that isn’t possible, a visiting dog or cat program, like the Peaceful Paw Comfort Canines can be utilized to offer cheer and comfort to residents.
Benefits of “Professional Snugglers”:
- Self-Esteem Boost. Assisted living facility residents frequently suffer from feeling a loss of independence and freedom. Animals can add purpose and motivation to their lives.
- Mental Stimulation. Interacting with a pet provides enjoyment, entertainment and connection.
- Entertainment. Since pets are emotionally safe they bring good times and humor. Interacting with a pet helps lighten the mood and allows a person to focus on the joy of the moment instead of dwelling on the past.
- Developing Empathy. Pets are generally simple to understand, more so than human interactions are. This makes is easier to develop empathy in responding to its needs.
- Acceptance. It is soothing and heartwarming to feel an animals unconditional acceptance. It brings such joy and comfort, especially to those who have a hard time accepting themselves.
Often the best medicine isn’t brought by two human hands, but comes on four paws going straight to the heart.