Meet the Benton House Therapy Dogs
As we age, it’s common to experience feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression.
This is where therapy dogs come in as a valuable resource for seniors, and we wanted to share a little about how our program here at Benton House brings both emotional and physical benefits to the members of our communities.
We’ll share how therapy dogs can help seniors, and then introduce you to two of our all-star Benton House canines.
How Can Therapy Dogs Help Seniors?
Therapy dogs are trained specifically to provide comfort, companionship, and emotional support to individuals in need. When seniors interact with therapy dogs, it has been shown to reduce stress levels and anxiety while also increasing feelings of happiness and well-being.
Studies have shown that regular visits from therapy dogs can help seniors feel more connected to the world around them, leading to a boost in mood and an increased sense of purpose.
In addition to emotional benefits, therapy dogs also have physical benefits for seniors. For example, seniors may feel more inspired to take walks or engage in other physical activities when accompanied by a furry companion. This can help improve cardiovascular health and overall physical fitness.
Therapy Dogs at Benton House
As you can see, therapy dogs provide numerous benefits for seniors, including emotional support, increased physical activity, and a sense of security.
We launched our therapy dog program a few years ago, and the boost of love each one of our sweet pups has made in our communities has been so profound we’ve never looked back.
Today we want to introduce you to Bubbles and Ivory, two of our ten beloved canines that take turns spreading love at each of our communities they visit.
Meet Bubbles the Therapy Dog
Our beloved Australian Labradoodle therapy dog, Bubbles, has been a member of the Benton House family for over a year now. Bubbles lives and travels with our Regional Director of Georgia, Ginger Couch.
Bubbles is beloved for her calm, friendly demeanor and her ability to connect with everyone she meets, from our staff to visiting family members to community members. Each week she visits a different community, boosting spirits and spreading puppy love in a wide variety of scenarios.
Take this sweet example from a long-time resident. A gentleman at one of our communities had experienced a rapid physical decline from early-onset Parkinson’s disease. This had contributed to his feelings of frustration with the world, in particular related to being forced to give up his teaching career and independence.
Placing Bubbles in his lap on an especially difficult day for him helped open up a conversation that led him to move into a more positive mental state, in part because it helped him process missing his own dog. Every time Ginger brought Bubbles to this community, they made sure to pay a special visit to this therapy dog’s friend.
Meet Ivory the Therapy Dog
We’re lucky enough to also have Ivory, a three-and-a-half-year-old English Cream Golden Retriever, as a therapy dog at Benton House.
When she was a puppy, Ivory was trained to sniff out Covid-19 with near 100% accuracy, and we brought her in as an additional measure on top of our testing protocols at our communities. Today, Ivory lives with Bonnie Smith, our Community Relations Director, who travels around with her to our Benton House communities.
Bonnie finds that even our quietest residents become more animated when Ivory visits. This sweet therapy dog loves to play games that make community members smile, like showing off her uncanny ability to sniff out treats that we’ve hidden for her while she’s blindfolded. Ivory has a special ability to meet people where they are, whether she’s napping with a war veteran or eagerly playing fetch in the courtyard with a retired pro tennis player.
Ivory may be most popular, however, for her silky soft fur: Just a few moments of petting her never fails to bring joy.
Our Benton House Therapy Dogs
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Bubbles and Ivory as much as our community members do. Our therapy dogs here at Benton House bring joy to everyone they meet, and we’re so fortunate to have them on staff!
To wrap this up, we also want to share that with as much energy and intention as Bubbles, Ivory, and the rest of their pack give to support our communities here at Benton House, being on the clock can be draining for them, just like for any of us. So we make sure to schedule in down-time for them to snooze on their dog beds or play fetch on their own turf—whatever their puppy hearts desire to refill their cups.