Pet Therapy

Therapeutic Companionship with Our Community Pets

Moments after entering our building, you get a sense of the benefits of our pet therapy program. The large, built-in bird enclosure in our lobby has become a favorite gathering spot throughout the day for our residents. A quick glance down the hallway, you may see Fergie or Moose, our community dogs that make their rounds of the residents and amble over to say hello. These big, gentle souls go person-to-person, stopping for a little scratch behind the ears (and all too frequently, a treat snuck from the dining room). It’s hard to tell who enjoys the companionship more.

Our pet therapy program is designed to improve the quality of life of our residents, providing both emotional and physical benefits. Residents interact with our community pets through Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) and casual daily contact. This regular interaction helps to:

  • Relieve stress and anxiety
  • Provide a source of comfort
  • Encourage companionship
  • Create mental stimulation

These emotional benefits can be a catalyst leading to lower blood pressure as well as respiratory and heart rates.

During warm weather, our residents particularly enjoy a ride on our handicapped-accessible, horse-drawn wagon. The team of draft horses and mules is made available for our use through the generosity of Stephen Gazdick, Healthwin chief financial officer. We also appreciate the generosity of the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County that provided a grant for the construction of the custom wagon.