Several articles on our site point to the benefits of pet therapy; thousands more stories and studies out there affirm the same.
On the west coast, Silverado Senior Living communities have embraced a fully-integrated pet therapy model, as have senior care homes that are part of The Green House Project. In those communities, and in other assisted living homes that have made pet therapy a priority, pets come to visit, resident pets are allowed, and “community” pets reside therein.
Of course, the rights and preferences of residents and staff with allergies or an aversion to animals must be protected and respected. Any senior living provider who is considering a more pet-friendly policy must balance the needs of all who will be affected by the pets’ presence.
However, it must be noted that a sweet dog with a wagging tail and a kiss for every passerby is good for the residents, the staff (imagine how quickly a bad day at work can turn around, knowing that the community pup is ready and willing to cheer you up?), volunteers and visitors too. Think about young children, teens, or even adults who are hesitant to visit Mom or Granddad in assisted living: would the appearance of a cuddly cat change their minds? I think so.