By Janet Medcalf
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - Every other Wednesday, a group of wonderful volunteers meet at the Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society Adoption Center at 1:30 to pick up some of our most social dogs and kittens so they can visit the residents at Life Care on Crum Street. We have volunteers of all ages! Some even go with us every time we head over for a visit.
After loading up the animals, we then head over to the nursing home and that is where the real excitement begins. As we pull into the parking lot, we see many of the residents sitting and standing at the front door excitedly awaiting our arrival!
The residents spend time walking, holding, petting and talking to the dogs and kittens we bring. Some residents that normally prefer to spend their time within the walls of their room, will actually come out just so they can visit with our animals! If a resident is bedridden, then our volunteers will make a stop by their room so they don’t miss out on any of the fun. Many of the residents will share memories of their own beloved pets.
We at the Humane Society understand the loneliness and boredom that can sometimes afflict nursing home residents. We’re so proud to be able to offer pet therapy to enhance the lives of these wonderful folks. Not only does pet therapy improve the lives of the residents, but it also improves the lives of the volunteers that take precious time away from their own busy schedules. Volunteer, Brenda Foster states “It makes me feel so happy when I see the smiles our animals bring to the faces of the residents.”
Pet therapy isn’t just for the benefit of people either! The dogs and kittens that we bring to Life Care reap many benefits as well! Not only do they enjoy the car ride to the facility, but they get more love, affection and petting at Life Care than at any other time!
With our volunteers coming every two weeks, we are establishing a routine that everyone looks forward to. One nursing home resident states “I think about your visits every single day. I love holding the little dogs in my lap.”
We are so fortunate to work well with the staff at Life Care and love having this opportunity to share our animals with this wonderful group of people.
Two of our regular therapy dogs, Buddy and Red, were adopted last week so we’ll be bringing a couple of new ones to our next visit.
We would like to invite anyone that would like to volunteer to go with us every other Wednesday to Life Care to give us a call at (423) 639-4771 and let us know that you’re interested in volunteering.
We encourage families to do this as well as individuals. You will definitely have a feel good feeling after you go share these precious animals. We hope to keep this wonderful program active for the residents at Life Care for many years to come!