Pet Therapy: Something to Bark About at Cambridge Health & Rehab!

For many residents, the ability to nurture and care for another living being is what gives them a feeling of purpose. Before they were residents, they may have lived their lives caring for their children, their spouses and their communities. Having to give up their caretaking duties and also rely on someone else to take care of their own needs often leads residents to feel as though they are no longer needed.

Enter the pet therapy program at Cambridge Health & Rehabilitation. Through this program, residents are able to interact with trained therapy dogs that allow them to be caregivers once again. The results are nothing short of magical for residents who may have previously experienced feelings of hopelessness, unhappiness and stress.

By caring for and visiting with therapy dogs, our residents:

  • Experience joy and laughter throughout daily life
  • Have a greater ability for newcomers to meet new friends
  • Are more likely to engage in exercise and activities
  • Have an avenue for touch
  • Gain feelings of self-confidence, self-esteem and achievement
  • Are able to reduce stress
  • Have a means to cope with depression and loss
  • Are more likely to communicate

Our patients look forward to their visits with therapy dogs as though they are expecting a visit from family. One patient remarked, “This dog reminds me of my dog at home!” while another commented, “I was proud to be able to stand and walk the dog today!” It’s clear that the residents and dogs have a mutually beneficial relationship that fosters feelings of companionship and self-worth.

To be considered for our therapy program, dogs must be gentle, non-aggressive, sociable and adaptable to new environments. As specially trained working animals, these dogs are tested, observed and certified before they are given the green light to work with people.

Although it may be difficult to quantify the benefits of pet therapy with hard scientific facts, we have enough anecdotal evidence to show that the program is a must at Cambridge Health & Rehabilitation. We welcome any inquiries from facilities looking to implement a similar program at their locations.