A Volunteer Program that Brings Happiness to Our Senior Community
Article Written by the volunteer that started this program: Ginny Green
Pat-a-pet allows volunteers from FAPL to bring some of our animals, mostly dogs, to nursing homes for visits with the residents. Pat-a-pet is a wonderful program! Obviously I believe that because I have been involved with it for 16 years now. Why so wonderful? Ask the residents at the nursing homes who are the recipients of our visits.
Many of the residents miss their dear pets from years ago, others have no visitors at all, and most have a lifelong love of animals. We put a smile on their faces. Then there are the animals we take for the visits. Usually we take a dog, but we have taken cats/kittens, rabbits, a ferret, and Guinea pigs in a basket!
For the animals, they get a break from the shelter (& a car ride!) and lots of love!!! It helps them be a more well rounded pet and even more sought after! Its always good to tell potential adopters about how well the dogs did at the nursing home! And last of all, those volunteers from the shelter who take the animals for the visit….They benefit from all of this happiness! There is a deep satisfaction that one gets from volunteering and participating in this program.
How did I get involved? I saw firsthand the magic between animals and those living in the nursing home. I took my own dog, Ginger, to visit my grandfather who was on his deathbed at the nursing home. It took me a great deal of time to get to his room… so many of the residents wanted to pet Ginger and to talk to me. When I retired from teaching the next year, I inquired about such a program at the APL. Yes it existed! However, the visit only occurred when the humane officer could fit it in her busy schedule. I was very happy to oblige!
I managed the visits on my own for many years. Others volunteering at the shelter showed some interest in joining me. I then created a schedule. We continued this way until I retired from the schedule of visitation to just maintaining the schedule…. to make sure this marvelous program continues to exist for the good of all. I want to thank all of the volunteers who are invested in this program just as much as I am. Without them this program would not be as magical as it is!