4-legged visitors brighten days for Resthaven residents

Published 9:08 am Monday, January 26, 2015

Snoops and Boss Girl padded through the halls of Resthaven Living Center greeted by curious and eager looks. They left in their wake smiles and giggles, not to mention a little slobber that Jane Carr continually wiped up. Snoops and Boss Girl, along with their owners, Joyce Carr Netherland and Jane Carr, are popular visitors among the residents.

Netherland said, “We travel here from Bush. I read about a program one day where people use their pets to help in assisted living facilities and nursing homes. I was intrigued by Love on a Leash and wanted to find out more about it.

“Joyce and I decided we wanted to get involved. The training was pretty intensive. We actually had to be evaluated for a full year before we were eligible to become an active part of Love on a Leash. I will tell you that it is extremely rewarding for us. It changes the countenance of the people we visit. Our pets bring a smile to their faces.

“The little dog, Snoops, found me. Boss Girl is also a rescue animal. The Lord sent them to me, and I found a way for us to make someone’s day. It’s a journey that the good Lord sent me on. If I can make one person’s day a little brighter, then I feel like I have earned my day.”

Esther Breland has been a resident at Resthaven for three years and can’t seem to say enough good things about her home and the visiting animals.

“I love it! There couldn’t be a better place for people who can’t help themselves. I love dogs and enjoy having the dogs come in with Love on a Leash. Bobby is the name of a little cat that I like. She comes sometimes and is so pretty,” Breland said.

A happy heart is good medicine, and a cheerful mind works healing. (Proverbs 17:22 AMP)

Resthaven resident Suzy Myler, agreed with this Biblical truth, stating, “I love them. You feel bad. They come in, and you forget all about your troubles.”

“I just love them, especially old big boss hog!” exclaimed Arcola Peay with a toothy grin.

Love on a Leash is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and has grown from its inception in 1984 to more than 1,900 members nationwide. Basically, it’s a national program started by Liz Palika, award winning author and dog obedience instructor from San Diego. The gist of the program is that pets can reduce stress and bring joy to people. It’s called pet therapy.

Love on a Leash is served by an all-volunteer board, and the pet owners participate at their own expense. Carr and Netherland both agreed that the personal rewards they receive far outweigh any sacrifice of their time or resources. They said they find joy themselves by bringing joy to others.