Over the years, research has proven the numerous benefits bestowed upon people that own animals. These benefits range anywhere from the lowering of blood pressure and cholesterol levels; to decreasing the feelings of loneliness in people. Having an animal might also provide a reason to increase physical exercise and socialization. With all of these wonderful reasons to own a pet one might wonder why any person would ever choose not to have a critter of their own.
Very Important Community Members
The reality is that some people may not be given the option of owning their own pet, even though they enjoy the company of a furry friend. It is under these circumstances that Intermountain Humane Society is reaching out to bring cuddles and happiness to one of the community’s most important groups, its seniors. IMHS has partnered with local senior centers in the intermountain area to establish a “Cuddle Time” with some of the shelter’s adoptable animals. Once a month, staff and volunteers spend roughly one hour with seniors at various residential facilities and help supervise curious kitties and excitable pups while visiting with the group.
It’s a Win All Around
The time spent together is mutually beneficial to both the senior residents and animals. While the cats get time to snuggle, purr, and socialize, the humans enjoy watching the kittens’ boundless energy while they explore new areas. Programs Director Lacy Cook states, “The best part of this partnership is seeing the same residents come back month after month. Seeing the smiles on the faces of so many really makes it worth it. You know that we are making a difference in these people’s lives.” The same could be said for the animals as well. Not only do the animals get one-on-one attention, but many of the kittens and pups that go to visit the residents end up finding a family of their own through association. Lacy mentions, “We always choose the animals for the visits carefully, and they are often our sweetest and most laid back of the group. We have nurses and visitors taking pictures all of the time. When we get an application for adoption, many times they mention having met the animal on one of our visits.”
Sharing the Love
Intermountain Humane Society continues to look for new ways to support their local communities and educate people about the benefits of being responsible pet owners. For those that have a small hole left in their heart that an animal once filled, the staff at IMHS hopes they can spread a little bit of joy to those who need it most. And that joy starts with a little bit of purring and a whole lot of cuddling!