Norbert is a tiny fellow, but 3 1/2 pounds of adorable goes a long way! When his owner, Julie Steines, first learned about therapy dogs, Norbert was still a puppy. She had witnessed the joy that her tiny puppy brought to the people they encountered throughout their day. Every day. She knew, without a doubt, that Norbert’s destiny included becoming a therapy dog.
After researching the subject, she trained Norbert, herself. He became a certified therapy dog by age one. He’s eight years old now and brings joy to people world-wide! He currently volunteers at Children’s Hospital Las Angeles or by special request. But he has, also, gone viral! His website and social media pages inspire smiles around the world. A very worthy quest, indeed. Good boy, Norbert! Good boy.
Pet therapy has become a popular form of mild therapy for seniors. Therapy dogs are invaluable in the lives of those they touch. Or, perhaps, that’s better stated in the lives of those who touch them. Research shows petting an animal is known to lower blood pressure, relieve anxiety, and cause one to feel connected. And the benefits reach beyond physical. Pet therapy is proven emotionally and mentally beneficial, as well. Interacting with animals can increase the body’s levels of oxytocin, the hormone that makes us feel happy.
Here are some facts regarding seniors with pets. Senior pet owners:
• Are less likely to feel lonely
• Visit the doctor less often
• Use less medication
• Recover more quickly from surgery or illness
• Have lower blood pressure and cholesterol
• Deal better with stress
Seniors living in communities with a pet therapy program in place benefit from their visits. At a time when they are transitioning to a different phase of life, many are feeling vulnerable. A visit from a therapy dog is sure to brighten any day and leave your residents looking forward to the next!