Playful puppies pop by Garden Terrace

A visit from four puppies and their mother proves to be both fun and therapeutic for residents

A visit from a mother dog and her puppies proved to be both fun and therapeutic for Garden Terrace residents.

On April 3, Dawn O’Leary, a nurse at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home, brought her Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever and her four puppies to visit residents.

Life enrichment team members took the pups to have visits with residents on each floor. There was also a playpen set up for the puppies.

During their visits, residents played with the puppies and they got to hold them. Garden Terrace life enrichment co-ordinator Rachael King notes that one of the residents’ favourite activities with the puppies was watching them jostle in the playpen.

“They loved watching the puppies wrestle,” she tells The OMNIway.

“The residents also reminisced. They talked about what they would name the dogs, they talked about dogs they had owned in the past, and they talked about what dogs meant to them.”

Some residents have had a version of pet therapy in the past using life-like robotic dogs, but these residents told Rachael it’s not the same as a real canine.

Rachael says the pups also encouraged resident engagement.

“Some residents who usually don’t come to programs came to this one, and that was nice,” she adds.

The program went so well Garden Terrace is planning to have Dawn return soon with the pups for another visit.

“Hopefully, we will have them back in a few weeks,” she says.

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