Peals of laughter echo through the house as Mac gets that wild look in his eye and begins running circles around the living room at break-neck speed, glancing over his shoulder to make sure everyone is watching. Sometimes this is triggered by a new person walking through the front door; sometimes it happens for no reason at all. Regardless of the cause, the result is always smiles and laughter. Mac is a special guy that has been with us for about a year. A very special person indeed. Well…not really a person, per se….more of a……personality. Actually, Mac is a cute little Boston Terrier.
At ComfortCare Homes, we love pets. We have made the decision to allow residents to bring their pets to live with them at CCH whenever possible. We have seen that animals (like little Mac) have a positive impact on all of the residents living in the home. Pets bring so much life and joy into the home and into the lives of our residents.
In addition to sometimes being the life of the party, Mac also walks around the home “checking on” everyone. He calmly walks next to his “mommy” (the resident who owns him); matching her slower gait whenever she moves about the home. He can often be found patiently sitting while a resident pats his head.
All the residents take ownership of the dog. As one resident is fond of saying, “That’s our little dog. He doesn’t have a tail, but he sure can run!” Having a pet around gives the residents someone to take care of and look after. Feeding him and taking him outside gives them a sense of purpose.
Allowing residents to bring their much loved pets with them to CCH really stems from our belief that it is the residents’ home. We also believe that having a familiar pet with them can ease their transition as they move into unfamiliar surroundings. For many elderly folks, their pet may be the only family they have left. Their pets truly become like family members. We want them to be able to bring their dear furry friends with them.
Research has shown that in addition to reducing high blood pressure and anxiety, interacting with a pet can also specifically benefit those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. A study performed by researchers from the University of Texas, Houston and the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that interactions with pets helped individuals with Alzheimer’s enjoy increased socialization and decreased agitation. The study even found that caregivers who interact with a pet experience less stress!
So I guess what the late Charles Schulz, author of the Peanuts comic strip said about pets is true; happiness really is a warm puppy.