Visitation pet therapy is the most common type of pet therapy. In the world of aging services, this kind of therapy involves an animal visiting a senior at home or at their senior living community. Foxdale Village’s approach has a slight twist—fostering homeless kittens until they are adopted. This has provided the residents continuous access to pet companionship.
Since the start of Foxdale’s kitten foster program through nearby shelter Pets Come First, the community has experienced first-hand the value it has brought to their community. “When residents in the Memory Support Neighborhood spend time with the foster kittens, you can see the joy on their faces,” said Jeannine Shade, Life Enrichment Supervisor.
Foxdale residents can either visit the cats in the community space, or they can take them to their individual rooms. Caring for animals can help residents regain a sense of fulfillment through nurturing a living thing. Pets also can provide physical affection and companionship to keep lonely feelings at bay.
Since the implementation of the program in 2018, Foxdale has fostered 64 kittens. The kittens stay until they are adopted, with the longest stay reaching 17 months during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The relationship between Foxdale and Pets Come First has benefited all parties. Residents, their families, and staff have enjoyed the cats. And, 14 of the cats that have been adopted can be attributed directly to Foxdale’s connection. One cat even found its home with Jeannine Shade!