Micro Wellness: Why You Should Consider Pet Therapy
The benefits of caring for a senior dog can be life-changing for both the pooch and you, according to Dogs’ Refuge Home General Manager Kristi Treadgold.
Did you know that it only takes 15 minutes spent bonding with a dog to promote positive hormonal changes within the brain? Studies have also found that caring for a pet can enrich our lives and provide micro wellness, anywhere from decreasing our stress levels and blood pressure to motivating us to get outdoors for a stroll in the sunshine. They’re a little bundle of good endorphins all wrapped up in a furry coat with a wagging tail.
Studies undertaken by Australian Family Physician also found pets to be a good catalyst for meeting people e.g. neighbours, helping to increase cardiovascular health, are positively correlated with family cohesion and for those whose family members live with Alzheimer’s – dogs have been known to encourage them to respond socially, despite no social response to humans. The benefits of pets are far-reaching and sometimes, overlooked.
Forever happy to be in our company (more specifically on our feet as we relax on the lounge), these little hot water bottles can be rewarding companions if given the chance. Unfortunately, in Australia, there are a large number of senior dogs who, for various reasons, are given up for rehoming or left unclaimed at the pound. And despite the amount of time they have left, often take the longest time to foster and/or adopt.
Understanding the incredible wellness benefits that dogs can provide to humans and conscious of the number of senior dogs looking for a family to live out their days with, WA organisation Dogs’ Refuge Home has set up a Seniors For Seniors program. The program aims to match retired adoptees with pooches aged 7-years and over, taking into consideration lifestyle and home environment, as Dogs’ Refuge Home general manager Kristi Treadgold explains.
“Sadly, we regularly have older dogs surrendered to us but we don’t like our senior dogs staying in kennels,” Kristi says. “We always try to get them out on foster so they can enjoy the comforts of home while they wait to be adopted. Also if they require palliative care we will find them a foster home and cover the medical costs so they can live out their days in comfort.”
Relying on the generosity of the community for funding and help in caring for the dogs, Kristi explains that the majority of DRH volunteers are aged 60+ and an even larger percentage of those are women. Furthermore, these volunteers regularly reach out to new owners and foster carers to make sure both dog and owner are settling-in well together which, in Kristi’s words, is wonderful to see.
“It’s very heartening to see members of the community stepping forward and putting their hand up to say, ‘I’m happy to give an older dog a home’ and use our Seniors For Seniors program,” Kristi says. “We also reduce adoption fees for senior dogs to give them the best possible chance at finding a new home.”
Lachie is a 12-year-old American Staffy x looking for a lovely retirement home, where he can sunbake, enjoy daily strolls with his humans
and have the comfort of a warm dog bed inside the home. Lachie bonds quickly to his humans and loves to be close to you.
The volunteers and staff at DRH also receive regular picture updates of their senior furry friends enjoying their new lives and homes within various communities across WA and Australia. Happily, within the vast majority of Lendlease Retirement villages, pets are a
welcome part of the community and walking groups where pets and owners meet up regularly to stroll together, are commonplace. However, it is always encouraged that individuals wanting to find out more about the village enquire as to the pet-policy for that particular village.
While they may be small, adopting or fostering a senior furry friend can generate big changes in the day-to-day wellness and happiness of their owners and as the team at Dogs’ Refuge Home would say… senior dogs are seriously experienced in the art of friendship.
To find out more about the Dogs’ Refuge Home or to support them please visit https://www.dogshome.org.au or contact a specific Lendlease Retirement Village manager to enquire about their pet policy.