In recognition of National Dog Day on Friday, August 26th, we would like to take a moment to recognize the tremendous impact pets play at some of our facilities.
Cosette- Not Your Average Dog
“As a speech therapist, I have been working with therapy dogs for the last 5 years,”stated Michael Box, SLP with Therapy Center
Currently, my therapy Pawdner is Cosette- a rescued, five year old, cream-colored Standard Poodle. Cosette has three years of experience working as a therapy partner. She has worked as a reading/study buddy for a home school and tutoring business in Lafayette and a Junior High School, where she assisted in providing various speech therapy services in a traditional school environment. Through this experience of working with different clientele, I have come to realize that even though the patients needs are unique, Cosette’s impact is the same. She bonds with each of them in a way that motivates them to be better physically and mentally.
The Benefits of Pet Therapy
Pet therapy builds on the pre-existing human-animal bond. Interacting with a friendly pet can help individuals both physically and mentally. Just the simple act of sitting with and petting a dog can result in reduced stress, anxiety and blood pressure, improving overall cardiovascular health. Pet therapy can also release endorphins, which produces a calming effect. Endorphins are knows to help alleviate pain, reduce stress, and improve overall psychological state. (Healthline.com)
At Maison Teche Nursing Center, Cosette has quickly become a sought after therapy partner. Frequently, Cosette will provide momentary distractions for patients by sitting with them while they wait their turn to complete various tasks. She walks with patients as they ambulate during physical therapy treatments and encourages those individuals who may not be having a great day to come to the rehab gym and give their best efforts. Cosette has also recently assisted in helping residents who had previously declined in their therapy services.
Goals of Pet Therapy
The goals of a pet therapy program in a skilled nursing facility are simple. With the support of a cute and cuddly pup its much easier to support and motivate the elderly to participate in daily life.
Physical benefits can include:
- improving motor skills and joint movement
- improving assisted or independent movement
- increasing verbal communication
- increasing willingness to join in activities
- motivating willingness to exercise
Mental health benefits of pet therapy include:
- decreasing loneliness and isolation
- increasing self-esteem
- reducing boredom
- reducing anxiety because of its calming effects
- improving the relationship between patient and therapist
- developing social skills
At Maison Teche Nursing Center, we are very fortunate to work with an administration and facility staff that are extremely supportive of our rehab services. Cosette is a welcomed member of the family here which makes her love her job! I feel fortunate to be able to work with young, knowledgeable professionals who are passionate and treat our residents and patients with dignity and respect. As a team, we are able to accomplish so much more with our patients than we could individually. I value working in an environment where our talents, knowledge and clinical strengths can be utilized for the greater good and I believe Cosette’s abilities compliment our team so well.
“I am fortunate to work for The Therapy Center. They provide us with a wealth of knowledge, professional support and development on most current best practices, which assists us in helping our patients to achieve their goals and improve functional independence.” Michael Box, M.S., CCC-SLP
Michael is a speech language pathologist with 13 years of clinical experience in acute care, inpatient rehab, outpatient, home health and special education settings.
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