Little Shelter is making a difference in the lives of elderly residents who live in assisted living facilities and in the lives of disabled veterans at the Northport VA.
Little Shelter and its specially trained dogs visit three assisted living facilities for seniors. The program has brought comfort and smiles to the faces of the residents - smiles that many of the caretakers say they haven't seen in years!
Specially selected dogs that have been adopted from Little Shelter and their handlers participate in unique and rigorous dog training program developed by Little Shelter. Not all dogs have the qualities needed to become Pet Therapy Dogs. Each dog is carefully screened for temperament and behavior and must be approved by our trainer after participating in the training class.
These dogs make a huge difference in the lives of the people they visit. Dogs and their handlers typically visit in a designated public area at a specific time that is agreed upon beforehand. Residents stop by to visit with the dog teams unless they are unable to do so. If that is the case, the dog teams might then visit the residents in their rooms or apartments instead of the public area.
Often, people are reminded by our Little Shelter dogs of dogs that they have had in their past. The Little Shelter dogs act as a bridge bringing back joyful memories and allowing the person to engage in positive social conversation. Dogs have the innate ability to sense anxiety, loneliness, and insecurity. They provide comfort, companionship and seek to sooth and nurture, filling a need that is not being addressed in any other way.
Little Shelter covers the cost of training the dog and the handler and all other costs associated with monitoring and expanding this program.