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Man's Best Friend, Best Medicine for Seniors

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

For seniors at the St. Joseph Manor, the highlight of their day is a visit from an old friend.

Actually, it's from some four legged friends, Texas and Mitus.

"We bring them to different facilities in the community to encourage people to cheer them up," Shelly Bergeron with Aggieland Pets with a Purpose said. "We've used them in actual therapy to work with speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy, and it just really brightens everyone's day."

Aggieland Pets with a Purpose, a non-profit organization, has been bringing in their pets and putting smiles on the faces of the Manor's residents.

"A nursing home is a place where people don't have the pets at home like they used to, and these people are always so welcoming and excited to see the animal," Begeron said.

"That's just real good therapy for them. It's range of motion to pet the dogs," Puggy Sheets with the St. Joseph Manor said. "They'll reach down and just stroke them, and it just gives the dog a sense of belonging, and the resident a sense of warmth."

The program, while still young, has been a huge success in the eyes of the seniors. Organizers say the dogs actually choose the residents.

"Whether people can get out to them or not, smiles come on their face," Norma Martin a resident at the Manor said. "It's like, you know, 'come see me.'"

With wags and kisses, the dogs prove sometimes, love is the best medicine.

"Dogs lower people's blood pressure, decrease loneliness, and you see they're happier when you leave," Bergeron said.


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