Because of their great need, the majority of our visits are to nursing homes. Studies show that pets have a remarkable ability to evaluate peoples’ moods and even improve their health. Alan Beck and Aaron Katcher write, “Our ability to touch pets, and their ability to touch us, gives the relationship between people and pets a quality of therapeutic intimacy.” Many elderly and handicapped people must leave beloved pets just when they need them the most! When we visit, we know we make a difference and our pets seem to sense it too! We could use more partners to fill this need.
We also visit children in educational settings, with or without pets depending on the situation. We try to teach them proper handling of all pets and help them begin to understand the meaning of responsible pet ownership. Because of the large number of dog bites reported among children, often in their own homes, we also demonstrate safe behavior with familiar dogs as well as ones they may be meeting for the first time. We are beginning to visit special needs programs where and when we are requested.