The essence of pet therapy is the one-on-one connection between a therapy team of one person/one pet, and the individuals they visit.
During the pandemic, even though they have had to suspend all in-person visitations and programs, Paws for People has found many creative ways to stay engaged and connected with the community.
Through live videoconferencing, Paws teams have engaged with residents to enrich their experiences in assisted living, hospice and hospital facilities.
Teams also stay in touch through prerecorded videos, phone calls, posters, cards, drawings and other caring outreach to help break the feelings of isolation.
To help children continue to build their reading skills, PAWS for Reading, in conjunction with partnering libraries, is holding virtual reading sessions. Through a preset Zoom meeting at one of the libraries, children take turns reading to a therapy dog. Kids love it, and reading becomes a lot more enjoyable.
“When everyone had to shelter in place, we realized that those who would benefit from a loving visit from a therapy pet needed Paws for People more than ever,” said Executive Director Lynne Robinson. “So, we’ve reached out in a variety of creative ways to stay connected and support both our members and the community. The response has been gratifying, and we hope that during this time of uncertainty and social distancing, Paws can continue to bring comfort and joy to all those who need us.”
For more information, go to www.pawsforpeople.org.