Wendel - Spreading love at a senior's home in Fort Langley
Last week I had the pleasure of photographing Wendel and his beautiful mommas.
Lane & Nina adopted Wendel from a rescue in November 2018, and as soon as they got him, they realized that he was a very special doggy! They decided that they couldn’t keep him all to themselves and began the process of having him certified as a Pet Therapy Dog through Pets & Friends, a local organization that has been around since 1982.
Of course, he flew through the certification process and a short while later they began visiting the residents at the seniors home in Fort Langley, B.C.
Lane says: “It was obvious from their very first visit the joy he brings to everyone he spends time with, and he knows as soon as we put his work vest on where we’re going… It’s amazing the amount of love one tiny little 10lb dog can share! I hope he can see the way the residents' eyes light up when they see him, when they reach out to touch his soft fur, or when they tell him about the dogs they have loved.”
Pet therapy is gaining fans in health care and beyond. These warm, furry visits to seniors in nursing homes and assisted living facilities have become more frequent over the years. And of course they would! The positive impact on a senior’s physical health and mental well-being is undeniable. Some of the benefits are:
Physical & Mental:
Studies have shown that only a few minutes after someone pets a dog, they can experience increased levels of a chemical called serotonin, which is responsible for mood balance and has been proven to increase happiness levels and decrease depression. Spending time with pets also helps lower blood pressure, and reduce stress and anxiety.
Pets can encourage and motivate seniors to get active. Simple activities like petting, feeding, walking and brushing a pet require energy and increase mobility. For those for whom exercising doesn’t come easily, having a visit from a pet can help them achieve their daily recommended exercise goals.
Joy & Companionship:
Emotionally, pets can provide companionship to the elderly. They can bring a sense of friendship by forming a bond with the patient, reducing loneliness, which can be especially beneficial for seniors who live on their own. Also, these visits can increase social interaction with the pet owner and other patients.
The benefits of the therapy pets program go both ways - it is also rewarding for both owner and pet as they also enjoy the love and connection they get from helping neighbours in need.
If you think your dog (or cat or bunny!) would make a great therapy pet, I highly recommend Pets and Friends. There are over 70 facilities in and around the lower mainland that are waiting for a volunteer team and they can make sure your pet is a good candidate, and then set you up with a facility of your choice.
If you want to follow Wendel on Instagram you can find him @wendels_adventures.