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Therapy pets can make your day brighter

I recently received a phone call from my 97-year-old great aunt. She lives in an assisted living apartment in Florida and is fortunate enough to have a few of her children living close by to take her to the doctor's appointments and weekly trips to the grocery store. Over the years, she's lost some of her short-term memory but still has quite a bit of her long-term memory. As she talked about her experiences in the past dating back many decades, the only thing she mentioned or remembered from the last few years is her cat, Sadie. Sadie is an older cat, around 15 years old, and lives with my great aunt in her apartment. Thankfully, she found a home that would allow pets as companions. As I sat and listened to stories about Sadie and their daily conversations, I realized that Sadie was now her new family and gave her a sense of normalcy reminiscent of the life she once lived. She now has someone to talk to, complain to, laugh with, and snuggle with at the end of the day. She even saves some of her meals for Sadie and smuggles it to her room in her big beach bag that she bought in the Bahamas over 20 years ago. This story reminded of the importance of therapy pets and the health of our elders. It's a known fact that animal interaction affects a person's mood, heart rate, depression and stress-related disorders. Dogs are more commonly used as therapy pets but there are a growing number of cats and ferrets being certified as therapy pets through the United States. If you have someone that you think might benefit from a therapy pet, you can contact your local Humane Society or veterinarian for a list of therapy pet organizations, or click on the links below. Pal. Pets Add Life
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