Carrie Chavez, program manager, and pet therapy dog, Jasmine
In honor of all of our four-legged friends at Emerald Heights, take a look at this Q&A with Carrie Chavez, our Programs Manager, to learn more about our amazing Pet Therapy Program.
Why is pet therapy important to our residents?
Our residents are actively engaged, even those who may be passive most of the time, a simple visit from one of our pet partners elicits positive responses, smiles, and conversation. It provides companionship, joy, and wonderful memories from their past to reminisce about. Residents will often time share stories from their own personal experience. I think our residents just plain and simply feel better after a visit from one of our wonderful pet partners. I think these pet visits are also mutually beneficial, our pet partner volunteers feel good about the work they do and they form relationships with our residents as well. The pet partners we have at Emerald Heights are truly amazing, even called “The Dream Team” by life enrichment staff member Diane Powell
How long has Emerald Heights had a Pet Therapy Program?
About 11 years
How many dogs are involved in the Pet Therapy Program? What are there names/ages?
Shari and Jeter: Jeter is a rescue dog is a is a black lab mix about 11 years old. Rescue dog. Has been coming to EH for 10 years, every Thursday for 2 hours each time! Shari and Jeter are Registered Pet Partners.
Cindy and Quilla: Quilla is about 4 years old. She is a Siberian Husky and Australian Shepard Mix and is a rescue dog as well. Cindy has been bringing her dogs to EH for about 6 years.
Rick and Buster and Maggie: Both golden retrievers. Maggie is a rescue. Have been coming for about 9 months. Comes every Friday
AnnRené and Jasmine: Jasmine is a miniature dachshund, she is 8 years old. She has been coming for about 9 months. Registered Pet Partner. Comes every Monday. It has been really fun having a small dog added to our pet partners, she is able to get in the laps of residents if they wish for her to do so.
What are the benefits of pet therapy?
The benefits of pet therapy are endless! There are several physical and mental aspects that can be improved with pet therapy. Our dogs interactions with residents can lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, reduce boredom, lower anxiety any more! Most importantly, in cam improve their moods in the best way.
What is something about the dogs that someone wouldn’t know?
All of our therapy dogs are wonderful and they share some common traits: They are mild mannered, loving, don’t spook easily, gentle, and very obedient. All of the dog owners are extremely compassionate, love what they are doing, love their dogs (treat them like their kids), put lots of time into training their dogs and find what they do rewarding. They all have a calling to reach out to the community and help out, bringing joy to many residents weekly. We love our volunteers, thank you!
For additional information about how we keep our residents happy and healthy, visit the Health Services portion on our website.