Pet Therapy

A couple of years back, I visited a residential home with a woman (that I’ll call A) who needed to move into residential care. She didn’t particularly want to, but she had accepted the need with a heavy heart. She didn’t have any other family so I took her to see some of the available places in the area.

There were some very modern and accessible, some friendly but none seemed to be homely toΒ  her.

Until we arrived in one other home. It was a converted house. We went to speak to the manager together and the manager had to extract an extremely large and very pampered long haired cat from the desk to meet us.

image Los Cardinalos on Flickr

A’s face lit up. Fluffy flopped down onto her lap. The Manager apologised and said that Fluffy was so used to being patted and stroked by the residents that she just made herself at home on anyone’s lap.

A was sold though. She told me, though some tears, that she had always wanted a pet but her husband (deceased) had been allergic to cats. She was stroking Fluffy almost aggressively. Fluffy though, was happy.

I spoke to the manager, A being more or less oblivious to the conversation because she was concentrating her efforts on Fluffy.

Fluffy shifted around a little but levels of purring rose.

Needless to say, we had found a home that A wanted to move to. And she did.

And so, remembering Fluffy and A and all the amazing help that animals can bring and the excellent work done by Pets as Therapy (who visit residential homes and hospitals with animals to pet!) I leave you with more photos. I know they’re superfluous but it’s the weekend and I’m supposed to be on holiday….

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With thanks to my sister for uncredited photos!

and if that isn’t enough for the weekend – try kitten war

11 thoughts on “Pet Therapy

  1. I know, I know, gratuitous cat photos! but for some reason (well, I could go into it) I’m ridiculously tired at the end of the week (boring lots-of-work reasons!) so I wanted to take an easy option πŸ˜‰

  2. Anyway, everyone should be aware of the dangers of leaving newspapers on the floor around the house !

  3. Aww. I love cats but hate it whn they try to share the bed with me because they always end up wining most of the space. In my local mental health unit they have a cat that lives in the reception but it is a bit freaky as its tail was removed and now it has an inch long moving stump. Hannah X

  4. I would love a cat, but Mr Door is not keen. I think it’s the hair…I wonder if there are any kinds that don’t shed? Other than creepy bald cats.

    I am going to have nightmares about the ‘moving stump’ now, thanks Hannah!

  5. My grandmother’s nursing home has a cat. I love it. When my grandfather died it seemed to know that something was wrong and would come and hang out with us. It was perfect. One of the staff also brings her dog to work every day and the residents love it. One of my favourite memories of my grandmother is when my best friend and I brought her dog to visit grandma after my grandfather died. It made her SO happy. She didn’t want to say goodbye, so we gave her a stuffed dog, that she could carry everywhere. It was…very special.

  6. Now I’m thinking about the moving stump too.. πŸ™‚ I don’t have a cat myself but would love one but I live in a flat up a few floors and I don’t think it would be the best environment. My sister (as seen in photos) has some that I look after sometimes though.
    I think that’s a lovely story, SD. And for all the unnecessary photos, I think the value of pets as therapy is absolutely genuine!

  7. I like animals – I think they are therapeutic (God I hate that word but can’t think of another) My Mum gets so much companionship from her dog. I am sure there is research which demonstrates the value of pets.

  8. I am sure there is, Silva and if I’d been a bit more industrious yesterday I would have looked for it. I used to work in a residential home for learning disabilities and there was one woman I worked with who had a lot of anger. Put her with a child or an animal and she was a completely different person. my very rudimentary interpretation was that she had had some pretty awful experiences at the hands of adults but children and animals were non-judgemental. She used to have a Pets as Therapy volunteer come and visit with the dog – it made an enormous difference to how she related not only to the dog but eventually with us all as well.
    And I know having animals around made me feel better when I felt down (when I had cats which I don’t know 😦 ).

  9. My niece has ADHD and some accompanying panic issues. Adding two cats to her home has done wonders for her. At 13 she is now the biggest pet advocate I’ve ever meet. She recently convinced me to get a new pet, assuring me, “Aunt Brenda, it’s clinically proven that domestic animals are good for our health and well-being!” Who can argue with that?

  10. Very true, Brenda. I’m trying to use the same argument on my partner at the moment.. I keep directing him to the above photos!

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