Pets needed for therapy

Do you have a friendly pet at home? Faircape Health Centre in Tokai is looking for volunteers to help make their health therapy a success.

They are looking for volunteers to donate their time and lend their pets for a good cause.

The centre has mostly elderly people who are fond of small animals and use them for therapeutic purposes.

Andrea Zanetti, project and training manager at Faircape, says the use of pet interaction in treatment or therapy has been found to cause release of “the happy brain chemical”, allow for distraction from pain or illness experience and give people a sense of purpose which aid in the healing and recovery process.

Zanetti says the procedure has been proven to be effective over the years and is part of the services the centre offers. She appeals to anyone who could help to contact them through their Facebook page.

“I encourage anyone that would like to share their positive experiences with their animal through some form of therapy with others to consider becoming a pet therapy volunteer. Animals are unconditionally affectionate, they can help with reducing effects of isolation and loneliness.”

Zanetti thanked those who have already showed interest. “The response has been incredible. There are many animal loving people with big hearts out there who have responded and want to share the joy and love they experience from their pets with others but also wanting to provide their pets with opportunities to experience enjoyment and love from others, this has been very heart-warming.”

Zanetti adds that Faircape Health partners has a partnership with Pets As Therapy (Pat) an organisation that helps with providing pets in their facilities.

She says they are currently short of animals, hence the appeal to the public.

She advised that those who are interested in becoming long-time volunteers can offer help through Pat.

Zanetti says there are pet therapy policy criteria that the pet needs to meet to get involved.

“Generally pets such as dogs and cats work well in pet therapy programmes. However, there are other animals that could have equally positive effects in a pet therapy programme like bunnies, guinea pigs, etc. Small animals that can rest in the laps of the older person are very welcome, however, large and friendly dogs are not excluded. We find that different people respond differently to different types of animals. Some people love being able to hold and cuddle small animals and others enjoy petting and interacting with larger more energetic animals.”

Time slots could be arranged to individuals and duration could be anything from weekly to monthly visits of no more than 60 minutes.

“During pet therapy visits, the volunteer will spend time sharing their animal with the residents at our facilities and interacting and socialising with the residents in doing so.”

V For more information email healthcare@faircape.co.za or call 021 815 5700.
To become a long-time volunteer through Pat visit www.pat.org.za for details.