By Susan Bernstein
Program Director 

Everyone needs a 'lick and a hug' sometime


The Jewish Pavilion has long been partnering with Pet Rescue by Judy, a "no kill shelter" that rescues dogs and cats and prepares them for adoption. The partnership takes the form of pet visitations to Siena and Cordova at Oakmonte Village in Lake Mary known as "Licks and Hugs" once each month.

Pet therapy has been shown to reduce blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health which release endorphins that produce a calming effect. Having pets around also diminishes overall physical pain; the act of petting produces an automatic relaxation response, reducing the amount of medication some people need. Having a pet reduces boredom, lifts the spirits and lessens depression. The pets help to decrease anxiety and the experience of having a pet around encourages the resident to communicate.

Kathy Nevins, volunteer coordinator for Pet Rescue, says that therapy is good for the dogs as well as the residents; the residents can connect to previous pets they once owned, bringing back fond memories. Rebecca Kuma, a volunteer, states that this experience is an opportunity for the puppies to learn socialization which helps in their adoption.

The smiles that these animals bring to each resident is priceless.


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