Numerous studies suggest interacting with pets has many benefits for nursing home residents.
â??Dogs will calm you, dogs make you feel happy, dogs are just very therapeutic on multiple levels,â?? Belinda Smith Cicarella, Heartland Humane volunteer said.
The first and third Tuesday of each month volunteers from Heartland Humane take sweet dogs like Neptune out to nursing homes in the Ottumwa area.
â??I just love animals,â?? Lois McDowell said. â??I just love pets, dogs especially, over cats. I love dogs more than cats.â??
â??I love it. Everybody here loves it. Everybody loves the dogs,â?? Dorothy Bos said.
Not only are the visits beneficial for the elderly, but volunteers say this also makes the strays from Heartland Humane Society happy as well.
â??The dogs get out of their cages; theyâ??re just in their cages for so many hours, so many days at a time, Smith Cicarella said. â??Then secondly the nursing home residents look so happy, so when we go there the ladies have told me you know, â??I donâ??t even know what day it is until the dogs come.â??â??
The group of volunteers takes one dog per person to four area nursing homes. This week they took Neptune, Lolly, Otis, Cue Ball and Pauly Ann.
â??Most every dog just naturally becomes a service dog when presented in a certain situation, but we also have to look at dogs that get along with each other, so I think every single dog that Iâ??ve ever come into contact myself at Heartland in all these years love people.
Dorothy Bos and Lois McDowell both grew up on farms, and look forward to the visits from the dogs because this is the only way they get to see animals now.
â??Of course I like big dogs,â?? McDowell said. â??Yeah I like the big dogs.â??
â??I love all the dogs,â?? Bos said. â??We had dogs on the farm, and I love dogs period.â??
To find out more about animal adoption or volunteering click here.