SAN ANTONIO — A local senior rehab and living facility has a new partner who is bringing joy to the residents.
Certified therapy dog Buddy has made a positive impact on the seniors.
The Enclave, a senior rehab and living facility just partnered with the therapy dog and his handler to bring the residents some extra sunshine.
“I’m so glad I got to see the puppy,” said Belia Aguirre, a resident at the Enclave.
Buddy is part of the local group Therapy Animals of San Antonio and nationally registered with Pet Partners.
“They don’t expect anything from you,” said Shirley Carter, an Encalve resident. “[Animals] like to be loved on as long as you’re gentle with them and what not. They’re part of the species that take you as you are. As long you’re kind and good to them they’ll be kind and good to you.”
Handler Mary Cosper saw how therapy animals made an impact on family members after they were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. When she met Buddy, Cosper knew he had the perfect personality to help others.
“The biggest impact that you see is the smile on their faces. It’s absolutely priceless to see the pup come in and love on everybody,” said Enclave CEO Kip Kruger.
The benefits of spending time with animals had been studied for decades. In a 2014 report, researchers claim animal therapy can lead to mental and physical health improvements.
“There’s the general things that help all of us. It tends to put a smile on your face when a cute little dog walks in and it lowers your blood pressure and then I think specifically with seniors, the social aspect,” said Cosper.
After spending a few seconds with the brown and white dog, it was easy to see how his presence is enough to coax the seniors out of their shells.
“I think that they all put a smile on their face when they see an animal or buddy come in.”