Meet Chris and her therapy animal, Harley Rose. They are a new team, and are a little bit different than most teams, as Harley is a pig! Since becoming a Pet Partners registered team, and receiving their “ok” to visit the community they have been making weekly appearances at Luther Acres, senior living. This has been such a blessing to Chris as Harley thrives on love and attention, which she gets so much of at Luthercare.
When they walk in you can hear throughout the facility, “yep here’s our Harley!” The residents know their schedule and look forward to their next visit. Harley even has a “fan” following; a list of must-see people for each time they make their rounds. If they don’t come on their regularly scheduled day and time, she has to hear all about it from the residents on her next visit.
At a recent visit, one of the doctors at the facility even stopped the pair to introduce them to another doctor, “we’ve heard all about you two, so this is Harley,” he said.
Enthusiasm from the medical staff is so validating to hear; as it reaffirms the positive effect animal-assisted intervention can have on the elderly.
There are some seniors that are generally not vocal and don’t move around much, but when Harley comes, they get excited, they are more verbal and communicative and they interact. People are shocked to see a pig, which is a great chance for Harley and Chris to educate people on pigs, and a chance to share their special bond with those around them. In turn, the residents are even starting to educate their family members on Harley, pigs, and therapy animals, which is fantastic. Family members come out and say “we have heard so much about Harley.” Or “Mom, doesn’t really even like animals, but she LOVES Harley.”
Harley brings smiles to both the staff and residents and is even drawing attention from the community at large. Local news interviewed the team recently and aired a segment on Harley the Therapy Pig. The joy Chris and Harley Rose receive from their visits has been a truly validating experience and something they will always cherish.
Story provided by Chris H.