No bark, no bite: Therapy dogs bring comfort to Council on Aging
Beverly Adkins lives in Dartmouth, but she goes out of her way to visit the Wareham Council on Aging because “the people are wonderful.”
When she visited the Council on Aging on Thursday, April 6, Adkins got to pet and play with some wonderful therapy dogs, too.
The seven dogs, most of them pets, were brought by Comfort Canines, a volunteer group run by dog trainer and Wareham Pack Walkers founder Jenny Cipriani.
“Dogs bring out the best in people,” Cipriani said. “It’s really an excellent source of group therapy.”
The Comfort Canines and their volunteers go to nursing homes, schools, farmers markets and YMCAs with their therapeutic pooches.
“It changes people’s mindsets sometimes,” said volunteer Lynda Schneider. “Maybe they’re in a bad mood, maybe a little bit sad, and the dogs brighten their day.”
For several months, the Council on Aging has had weekly visits from a therapy dog named Daisy. Council on Aging Director Sharon Rice said that Daisy’s visits have been popular.
“It’s a soothing experience,” Rice said. “It’s an opportunity to bond with an animal. It’s therapeutic, it’s mood lifting.”
Rice said that many of Wareham’s older residents are dog lovers and former dog owners, but can no longer own pets due to their housing and financial situations.
She hopes that the therapy dog session allowed people to come together and connect with each other.