Residents from Botkin Care and Wellington Health and Rehab have been doing some volunteer work through the RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) and finding new furry friends at Wellington Humane Society.
On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, groups of five residents are transported to the humane society where they spend time with dogs and cats in need of adoption.
"These residents want to make a difference in their community and the Humane Society has given them a perfect opportunity to give back, Debbie Lutz, RSVP director.
There is a dog at both long term care facilities "so the residents are already exposed to being around a pet every day," Marla Nispel, CEO at the facilities said. Seeing the animals at the humane society "brightens their day," Nispel said. "It brings a smile to their faces."
Coco Anguiano, activities director for the residents, said the "residents get to have a field trip and the dogs get some lovin’ and it gets them exposed to people so it’s a win-win for all of us."
Nispel said many of the residents had pets in their homes earlier in their lives and seeing the animals at the humane society brings back memories for them.
The interaction between the residents and the animals has brought some surprises. Nispel talked about one woman who does not talk much, but a cat that is usually afraid and fearful slunk into her lap and did not want to leave. Later, a puppy did the same thing.
"She must’ve had something about her presence that drew these animals in," Nispel said.
Nispel also referred to a man who had not been out of the building in two years, but after going out to see the animals, he went on to attend the Valentine’s Day party recently held at the Wellington Senior Center.
Interacting with the dogs and cats improves the moods of the residents and even lowers their blood pressure, Nispel said. "That’s proven," she added.
When the residents interact with the animals at the humane society "it’s a way they can give back to the community by volunteering, giving their time, their love."