Studies have shown that pets can lower blood pressure, reduce stress and create a feeling of well-being, thus aiding in the healing process. And, that is just what the volunteers of the CAAWS Pet Therapy program aim to do at local nursing and retirement homes.

The group normally conducts two visits each month and brings a great deal of joy and excitement to those who may be lonely or may be missing a beloved pet. Many residents will respond to a pet when they don’t respond to anything else. The volunteers are there to allow residents to pet and hold the animals and to talk with them. Many like to talk about pets that they had as children.

The volunteers also take along a Polaroid camera as many of the people love to have their pictures taken with the pets. If you are interested in participating with your pet, basic obedience training is recommended, but the primary requirement is to have a desire to share yourself and your pet with others who may need a friend. If you would like to volunteer for the Pet Therapy group, or if you know of a facility that would like to be visited, please contact the Pet Therapy Coordinator, Jeanneen Higgins, at

To participate, pets must be:

  • Gentle and well mannered
  • Clean and flea free
  • Receptive to strangers
  • Friendly with other pets
  • Current on all vaccinations