Have you ever tried to be in a bad mood with a snuggly dog doing it’s best to make you pet him?
Well, that’s the idea behind the animal assisted activities that our Recreation Department is providing to our residents. We have a great group of volunteers from Paws Together that come on a regularly scheduled basis to let our residents enjoy one the most natural things a kid can do. Thank you, Maxine, for organizing this activity.
Recently these therapy dogs visited 12 residents from our Waypoint Unit (normal cognitive functioning males). They got to spend about an hour relaxing, petting, and enjoying a break from their regularly scheduled day. Our treatment teams meet to decide which residents can safely benefit from this activity. It’s our hope that residents can spend a little time decreasing their anxiety, frustration and anger, while doing something that most of us take for granted when we get home from a stressful day.
We do a pre-test and post-test with each resident who participates. They’ve self-reported a decrease in stress and anger, and a positive mood change when allowed to spend time with the animals. One resident reported “I felt like I found my new high” and another said “the dogs made me feel safe and loved”.
The youth we serve have many stressors that most people can only imagine. Many of their lives have been chaotic and their mental health proves to be an ongoing challenge. Anytime we can add a little normalcy to their day, we’ve added a little brightness to their difficulties.
Thanks again Paws Together for adding some smiles to our residents faces. They really appreciate it.