There's nothing like a friendly dog to make you forget for a moment the stresses of the day.
In fact, studies show that human-pet interaction actually lowers heart rate and blood pressure.
Wells Nursing Home is fortunate to have five visiting therapy dogs. These dogs are trained to help
people by visiting them and giving them some company and joy. They are not trained to stay with them and help them with their
tasks, so there is a major difference between therapy and service dogs.
People often need some therapy to recover,
which can prove boring and repetitive. A therapy dog can provide some excitement in their daily routine that will improve
their situation. It's been known to make people less lonely or depressed as well.
A therapy dog can also help make patients be more responsive (eye contact,
smiling, verbal communication, etc.), getting them out of their routine, making them less passive. Studies have shown
that when dogs and cats come to visit a care facility, there is more laughter and interaction among residents than during
any other "therapy" or entertainment time. In an inpatient setting, the presence of animals encourages socialization.
Staff members have reported that it is easier to talk to residents during and after animal visits. Family members
often come during the animal visits and some have reported that it is an especially comfortable and pleasant time to come.