Pets bring good cheer, but also health benefits to residents at home

By WKTV News

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) - Science says there's a connection between our health and our furry and feathery friends, and one local facility is putting that connection to good use.

Experts say pets improve mental and emotional health at all stages of life, but we don't need experts to tell us that animals make most of us feel better.

And that's why the Presbyterian Home for Central New York connects its residents with animals on a regular basis.

Rose is a 20-year-old African Grey parrot. Another regular guest is Chipper, an eight-year-old parakeet. Cats, dogs, even an English spotted rabbit are all part of the Pet Therapy Program.

The animals make the rounds at the home to lift the spirits of the residents. Staffers say after short periods with the animals, they see a big difference in the residents.

Cynthia Vandawalker is an activity aide at the Presbyterian Home.

She says evidence of an improved condition is found in the form of lowered blood pressure, and a decrease in depression and anxiety, but that's not all.

"Animals are an unconditional love," Vandawalker said. " They don't judge people so they are always welcome."

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