There are countless benefits to pet ownership. From love and companionship to security and protection, our furry friends are important members of our families. Whether walking a dog or rubbing a belly, interactions with animals have proven health benefits. Dog owners are also more likely to get the recommended amount of daily exercise than their pet-free counterparts, thanks to all that dog walking and stick throwing. In addition, it is believed that dog owners have stronger immune systems and fewer allergies.
But you don’t have to own a dog or cat to reap the rewards of pet ownership. Pet therapy programs, in which volunteers bring their pets to visit seniors, have been shown to alleviate stress and anxiety as well as reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Simply petting a dog can lead to a significant reduction in cortisol, a stress hormone.
In addition to improving mental wellbeing, the bond between animals and humans may have significant impacts on physical health as well. Studies have shown that having a pet can lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels, while therapy programs can help those recovering from illnesses and injuries. Cumberland Village understands the positive benefits that our four-legged friends can have on our health and social lives. That’s why we offer pet therapy programs for all of our residents.
The Many Unexpected Benefits of Pet Therapy
Pet therapy programs, such as the one at Cumberland Village, allows residents to visit with dogs (and, at times, a cat) in the comfort of their own apartments. Operated by Love on a Leash, volunteers and their four-legged companions visit residents once a month. Residents are able to talk with the owners and learn about the animals. Some owners have been visiting consistently for years, so the residents truly feel a special bond with the dogs. They know the dogs by name and love hearing about their activities of the previous month. Many have said that they feel calm and relaxed immediately following a visit.
The benefits of pet therapy at Cumberland Village extend beyond the residents themselves. Many family members have also reported a sense of comfort knowing their loved ones have the opportunity to interact with furry friends. In some cases, residents moved to Cumberland Village without their pet, so spending time with animals fills their emotional bucket.
Take Advantage of Pet Therapy at Cumberland Village
Whether a cuddly canine or a fluffy feline, animals have the power to greatly improve our health. The positive effects that animal-human relationships bring through pet therapy programs cannot be understated. At Cumberland Village, it’s easy to see why dogs (and the occasional cat) truly are man’s best friend.