King Farm Blog
Posted: Friday, January 12, 2018
Benefits of Pet Therapy
According to the Mayo Clinic, animal-assisted therapy not only comforts people but has health benefits as well. It helps reduce stress and anxiety and can increase self-esteem and improve social skills.
Pet therapy is used in many different ways and may be included in treatment programs for people with arthritis and cancer and those in rehabilitation programs for cardiac conditions and injuries. Pets can assist in improving motor skills and joint movement and help to motivate exercise programs.
Spending time with a therapy pet can also have cognitive benefits including increased verbal communication and interactions with others, focusing attention and encouraging people to join in activities. Visits from therapy animals like Tinker Belle, a Newfoundland registered therapy dog who visits Ingleside at King Farm have been shown to decrease loneliness and isolation, reduce boredom and lessen depression.
Tinker Belle is a 2½-year old, 125-pound bundle of furry love. Tinker Belle and her owner Alesia Harvey enjoy spreading that love to residents of Ingleside at King Farm every chance they get.
Harvey, who lives in the vicinity, brings Tinker Belle to the retirement community every Tuesday to visit with residents in Memory Care and Assisted Living. Tinker Belle seems to know just what each individual needs.
“She is very high-spirited and playful, but when we’re working, it seems she knows what she needs to do,” Harvey says. “Some of the residents sit on the floor with her, and they have a grand old time together. She’s very sweet and playful and generally very docile.”
When she’s visiting with Memory Care residents, Tinker Belle often just sits beside residents and keeps them company. In Assisted Living, Tinker Belle gets admiring pets and sometimes returns affection with kisses.
Tinker Belle is a registered therapy dog with Pets on Wheels, a Baltimore-based organization that brings therapy animals to communities across Maryland. She has been taught how to remain calm and to sit still in a chair. She’s also earned a Canine Good Citizen designation and has completed Puppy S.T.A.R. and General Obedience training through the American Kennel Club.