March 10, 2018 8:38 pm
Updated: March 15, 2018 7:50 pm

‘Purrfect’ companionship: Regina seniors benefit from pet therapy

Cats can sometimes have a bad reputation for being unfriendly and standoffish, but for some of the cats at the Regina Human Society they're known for being therapeutic. Katelyn Wilson has the story.


Cats can sometimes have a bad reputation for being unfriendly and aloof, but some of the cats at the Regina Humane Society are known for being therapeutic.

For more than 25 years the Humane Society has been running a Pet Therapy Program consisting of mostly feline friends, some dogs and even rabbits.

READ MORE: Regina Humane Society pet therapy program

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Each year more than 100 volunteers complete an average of 450 pet-assisted therapy visits to forty unique locations including senior residential and rehabilitation facilities.

READ MORE: Cat’s out of the bag: Calgary airport adds feline friends to pet therapy program

Volunteer Jenine Boser, takes one of the animals, usually a cat, to visit seniors’ homes every Saturday.

“It’s nice to see people smile and the animals having a good time. It’s nice to watch the interaction between the residents and the animals and I enjoy that the best,” Boser said.

“It can be stressful listening to all the other animals meowing or crying or people coming and going in front of the kennel, so sometimes this is a good break for them just to get out for a bit.”

On her most recent visit to Princess Villa, a retirement home, Boser brought a rambunctious five-month-old kitten named Black Jack.

READ MORE: Pet therapy can be a key in addictions recovery: survey

It was his first visit and although he’s still learning the ropes, he provides a sense of companionship to those he meets.

“A lot of them [seniors] when they were living independently had pets of their own, cats, dogs, birds, and living here they aren’t able to anymore. So I guess this brings a sense of normalcy to them,” said recreational coordinator Gail Fischer.

Sophie Rausch has been a resident at Princess Villa for several years. For her, the visits bring back a lot of memories.

READ MORE: A turkey was brought on a flight as a therapy pet

“We used to always have cats you know, little ones, big ones, but we sure got rid of mice,” she laughed. “It’s company you know, it’s something different rather than washing dishes and cooking and stuff like that.”

The program also helps stray cats become more adoptable, which makes it a win-win for everyone.




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