NewBeginnings Gayla 01KENTUCKY (4/15/13) - As I wrote earlier, I have a friend that went through a very traumatic year last year. She wanted something positive to come from her suffering. So, she birthed the idea of getting a group of people willing to make someone happy each month for 12 months. I felt so inspired by this that I wanted to share her vision with my readers. Today we are going to continue our year of kindness. Our focus this month is on animal assisted activities.

I believe that animals are pure beings that are here on earth to teach us how to love unconditionally. Animals can help with the experience of loneliness that some people may feel in nursing homes. They can ease fear that a child with a terminal illness may feel in the hospital. They can be a positive distraction for someone in jail. Animals can put a smile on the face of someone suffering from Alzheimer’s. Animals can bring people together and bring back fond memories.

My dog, Ellie, and I have been involved with animal assisted activities for six years now. I have seen first-hand how she has brought countless smiles to the elderly people we visit (some of these people have not smiled in a long time). I have witnessed how some of the people will not participate in activities, except for when Ellie comes to visit. I have seen tears of joy come to some of their eyes because my dog brings back memories of their beloved pets from the past. Ellie is cherished by many.

Do you love animals?
Do you have a passion for helping ease the pain of other’s loneliness?
Does the thought of a child suffering with a terminal illness pull at your heart strings?
Would you like to do something in memory of a loved one that you have lost due to cancer?
Pet therapy/animal assisted activities may be for you!

Here are steps that you can follow to starting your own pet therapy program:

1.    Get your pet a health check at your local veterinarian to make sure they are healthy and to get them up-to-date on vaccinations if needed.
2.    If you are planning on using a dog, have them go through the Canine Good Citizenship test. This test deems the dog as a candidate that works well with other people and dogs in their homes and in the community. For more information and to find a testing facility near you, go to: www.animalhumanesociety.org/training/caninegoodcitizenship
3.    Talk to a nursing home, hospital, or similar facility in your city about bringing your pet in to visit with residents.
4.    Start off slow. If you have a family member in one of these facilities start off by bring your pet to visit them. There are different sounds and smells there that your animal must be comfortable with. The pet has to be calm and enjoy people and attention. The pet must not bite or scratch residents.

This random act of kindness can go on not only for one time, but for many, many years to come.

Can’t start your own animal assisted activity program? You can donate to one that is already established. Here is the website of one that I was impressed with: www.powerpawsforkids.org

The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast you. - William James

Gayla

Check out my new blog – “Me…forgiven?”
www.newlifebeginnings.us


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

In Other News...

CC Lions Club to Award Two $500 Scholarships

CENTRAL CITY, Ky. (3/27/15) — The Central City Lions Club is offering graduating high school seniors living in… Read More

Happenings and Meetings - Hopkins County

HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (3/28/15) ― The following meetings and events are scheduled for the following week: The Sound of… Read More

Most Read This Week

March 27, 2015 5501

Three Arrested during Execution of Search…

by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
March 25, 2015 5236

Fazoli's, Roses Coming to Madisonville

by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
March 24, 2015 5055

One Dies, Another Injured in Mortons Gap Traffic…

by Deputy Heath Owens
March 25, 2015 4983

Grand Jury Finds No Criminal Wrongdoing in Bean…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
March 24, 2015 4179

UPDATE: One Injured in Hopkinsville Road Accident

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
March 25, 2015 3946

Madisonville Man's Living Room Leap Lands Him in…

by Madisonville Police Department / Hopkins County Detention Center

Most Read This Month

March 09, 2015 13345

Multi-Agency Drug Bust Results in $1 Million Meth…

by KSP DESI
March 02, 2015 11521

Madisonville Teen Faces Numerous Drug Charges

by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center

Stories Trending Today

March 27, 2015 5501

Three Arrested during Execution of Search…

by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
March 27, 2015 2430

MPD Searching for Man Accused of Nearly Running…

by Madisonville Police Department
March 27, 2015 2422

Family Loses Possessions, Dog in Sugg Street Fire

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
March 28, 2015 2093

Young Child Dies in Princeton Fire

by Chris Rogers, KSP
March 27, 2015 1628

Hopkins Grand Jury Indictments Handed Down

by Karen McKnight
March 27, 2015 1476

Rehabber Explains Her Mission; Efforts Filmed by…

by Ron Sanders
March 27, 2015 1284

Hopkins County Health Department Food Scores Thru…

by Barry Franklin
March 27, 2015 1268

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - March 27,…

by Madisonville Police Department
March 28, 2015 1142

Tractor Trailer Takes Out Guardrail on I-69,…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
March 27, 2015 1099

Utility Tax Petition Signatures Put Choice before…

by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News