Hudson Valley Humane Society
Visiting Pet Program
What is Animal Assisted Therapy?
Do you have a calm, friendly dog, cat, bird, rabbit or other pet? Are you interested in making visits to local nursing homes, schools, hospitals, and other facilities?
If so, give us a call at 845-267-8795 or e-mail us at HVHSPCA@optonline.net
THE HUDSON VALLEY HUMANE SOCIETY
VISITING PET PROGRAM
The contact may be brief, but it brightens the entire day or week, especially for those who have had pets in the past. In some cases, an animal's visit is transforming. Shy, withdrawn, or depressed people find themselves in animated conversation, angry people relax, and those with memory lapses share detailed recollections of pets they lived with years before. Visiting pets have reached autistic children, stroke victims, Alzeimer's patients, and other "unreachables." Even when nothing dramatic happens, pet visits are important changes of pace for facility residents, bringing excitment, affection, comfort, physical contact and joy.
In addition, to providing companionship (called Animal Assisted Activity), visiting pets sometimes particpate in a facility's therapy program. In Animal Assisted Therapy, a dog might stand while a patient brushes him order to excercise specific arm muscles, or a cat might visit a depressed patient to encourage convesation, or someone in speech therapy might give commands to a dog that does tricks or retrieves objects. Anyone who loves animals is likely to work harder and feel more motivated when one is part of the therapy team.
Our program satisfies community service requirements for scouting, high school and other service programs.
Volunteers without pets are welcome too. We need escorts to accompany visiting pet teams, show photographs, chat with residents, carry coats, open doors, and help make visits more rewarding. When a single animal visits a group, escorts help everyone participate even though only one person at a time is petting the animal.
We welcome financial donations through our "Sponsor a Therapy Pet" program at the address below. Please write or call for information.
It is a joy to see frowns turn into smiles and to see sad or depressed people laugh and old out their hands in greeting when they see our visting pets. Pet therapy is one of the most exciting rewarding and effective volunteer programs in America. Please join us!
HVHS Visiting Pet Partner Daphne, owned by Susan Dickens, is featured on the Cover of Interactions magazine, the Delta Society monthly publication, after 9/11 when teams from the Hudson Valley Humane Society Visiting Pet Program spent time with family members in New York City helping with the healing process.