Living with Wonder: Pet Therapy At Miravida Living

Dogs, Puppies, Cats and Kittens, Oh My!

“Life brings simple pleasure to us every day. It is up to us to make them wonderful memories.” — Cathy Allen

Many of us have fond memories of our pets and the pleasure of spending time with them. The shared unconditional love added an important dimension to our lives. Knowing time spent being with a dog or cat brightens everyone’s day, Miravida Living introduced the Noah’s Landing program.  

Dogs, puppies, cats and kittens are now part of daily life at Bethel Home. Having a dog or even two dogs living at a nursing home is not a new idea. Having lots of dogs coming to work with our employees on all three shifts is an innovative approach. Working with an animal behaviorist, Miravida Living has helped employees select dogs suitable for their families and nursing home residents. We have also offered classes for owners and their dogs.

Today, the Noah’s Landing program incorporates cats and dogs into everyday life at Bethel Home, Eden Meadows and Elijah’s Place. Dogs with big brown eyes, wet noses and wagging tails, and purring cats coyly longing for attention eagerly accept love from our residents. While we know the program is wildly successful, research indicates the simple act of petting animals releases an automatic relaxation response that elevates moods. The bonds lower anxiety, give comfort, reduce loneliness and increase mental stimulation. The benefits of spending time with a dog or cat can even decrease agitated behaviors and increase social interactions of older adults with dementia. But that’s not all. It can also have positive impacts on physical health. Having pets around can lower blood pressure, reduce the amount of medications taken and diminish overall physical pain.

Employees, once worried about their dogs spending the day at home alone, look forward to bringing their dogs to work. Our residents look forward to spending time with Daisy, Porter, Bella, Zack, Kylo, Bear, Nalla, Jax, Alfie, Sophie, Murphy and many other dogs. The dogs enjoy the attention, are patient with being brushed out as part of a resident’s therapy and add so much life to living in a nursing home.    

Miravida Living recently added a dog park to offer the dogs a safe place to play without being on a leash, and encourage our residents to spend time outside.  

Residents, employees, dogs, puppies, cats and kittens are all part of life and living with wonder at Miravida Living. Visit our Facebook page to learn more about ways pets enhance our care. Contact us if you are interested in bringing your pet to visit with our elders.