Pet therapy in nursing homes

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When the time comes for a family member to move into a nursing home or retirement community many worry that their loved ones will begin to feel lonely and unneeded as time goes by.
Fortunately, thanks to people such as Kit Darling and Dr. Karen Snowden and their work with organizations like Aggieland Pets With A Purpose, many elderly residents are getting the chance to experience the unconditional love of a pet.
“People in nursing homes usually face a lot of physical challenges, and having a pet live with them is not an option,” Kit Darling, infection control coordinator at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science said.
“But many nursing homes now will allow personal pets to visit or may schedule pet visits with an animal-assisted therapy group.”
Aggieland Pets With A Purpose apwap.org/index, or APWAP, is a local non-profit animal-assisted therapy organization.
APWAP members and their pets, usually dogs or cats, visit many assisted-living and nursing home facilities in the Bryan, College Station community. “It is always very rewarding to see a person smile or talk about their pets when one of my APWAP certified dogs like Dexter or Daschle visits a nursing home facility,” Darling said.

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