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...

Two Vehicle Injury Collision on US 641

PRINCETON, Ky. (5/4/15) — According to a Kentucky State Police report, KSP investigated a two-vehicle, injury collision… Read More

Summer Evening Shows, Star Parties at Golden Pond Planetarium, Observatory

KENTUCKY (5/3/15) — Summer Evening Planetarium Shows begin May 30 with Firefall at Golden Pond Planetarium followed by… Read More

Most Read This Week

April 28, 2015 4151

Search for Stolen Vehicle Ends with Woman Charged…

by SurfKY News
April 27, 2015 3488

Online Petition Seeking Re­opening of Shanice…

by Samantha Carver, SurfKY News
April 28, 2015 3337

Man Charged with Stalking Smoke Shop Clerk

by MPD
April 27, 2015 2891

Hopkins County Drug War ― Are We Winning?

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
April 30, 2015 2794

Family Says 'Goodbye' to Dog After It Allegedly…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

April 17, 2015 15526

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 23, 2015 8475

Man Charged with Sodomy, Incest/Victim under 12

by SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

May 03, 2015 1377

Two Injured During Two-Vehicle Collision

by SurfKY News
May 04, 2015 1188

Teen Injured During Collision with Police Cruiser

by SurfKY News
May 03, 2015 1074

Faith Baptist Hosts Family Fun Day

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
May 04, 2015 804

Alleged Littering Leads to Drug Arrest

by SurfKY News
May 04, 2015 770

Three Injured in Two-Vehicle Collision

by SurfKY News
May 03, 2015 729

Dave Says - May 3, 2015

by Dave Ramsey
May 02, 2015 642

Baptist Health Hosts Annual ‘Bike Safety Day’

by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
May 02, 2015 633

Conquering the clutter: Cleanliness with kids is…

by SurfKY News
May 03, 2015 630

2015 Correctional Employees' Week Celebrated…

by Michael Caudill
May 03, 2015 559

Legislator's Log - Week of May 3, 2015

by Brent Yonts