Tesla’s Love is the blog for and about people who love animals. No one here cares whether it walks, crawls, swims, slithers, hobbles or knows how to fly, if there is a story about an animal that you love or loves you, this is the place to share that story. The story can be a tribute, a love story or a memorial. It can be about you, this truly is a site for people. Send your story and photos to teslaslove@gmail.com and we promise to post it here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

True puppy love

The Jewish Home and Chapel Haven show the difference pets can make.

The Jewish Home says "a wet nose and a wagging tail" is sometimes the way to help provide the "highest quality services to its frail and elderly residents while meeting their individual social, emotional and spiritual needs."

What's not to love about that?
The home has a dog in residence, a black Labrador retriever named Hakay, who is affectionately also dubbed Joe.

The agency says "The move to a nursing home is difficult at best, but for those residents who must leave behind a beloved pet, it is devastating. Many withdraw and become reclusive. Some even stop communicating. Through pet therapy, residents are able to experience the joy and unconditional affection that an animal visit provides."

That hits right home for us at Tesla's Love!

In a statement, the agency said the pet therapy can include "a simple visit to a patient to provide company, or a more structured program to provide stimulation and muscle-coordination retraining to a stroke victim, or independent living assistant to the physically handicapped."

And, "The mere presence of a dog may motivate a response in the non-communicative patient. It can stimulate the recall of memories and help sequence events in patients with head injuries or chronic degenerative diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer’s disease, and teach appropriate behavior patterns in those with emotional disabilities (Goldman, 1990)."

The agency also teams up with Chapel Haven, a residential program "committed to providing a lifelong network of individualized support services for adults with cognitive and social disabilities, enabling them to live independent and productive lives," it said in a statement.

The participants have challenges such as Asperger’s syndrome and autism.

A partnership was formed between Chapel Haven and the Jewish Home to foster a symbiotic relationship that benefits both the young people and the elders. Eighteen years later it still flourishes, the statement said.

Chapel Haven volunteers visit with residents and help with activities programs, transportation and assist in creating materials for crafts projects and displays by cutting, sorting and organizing supplies.
The motto of Chapel Haven, Every person is to be treated with respect and dignity, meshed well with the philosophy at the Jewish Home, Where Caring and Tradition Meet, the statement said.

An added program is evolving that bring more pet visits to residents on the nursing units. Cailean Oerkvitz, shown in top photo kneeling, is a graduate of the Chapel Haven program and has a special affinity for animals. He spent time at the local animal shelter where he was trained as a pet therapy facilitator.

Now he is able to make weekly pet visits to residents who express an interest or who have a history of enjoying animals.

“You cannot minimize the impact of these encounter for the residents,” Sharon Louchen, director of Therapeutic Recreation, who coordinates the Pet Therapy programs, said in the statement.

“Non –verbal and withdrawn residents demonstrate visible responses to animals.”
For more information, visit http://www.chapelhaven.org/

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