A Dog’s Dose of Happiness for Seniors

Posted at 2:43 PM, Nov 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-19 16:43:11-05

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    Weatherly, PA (WNEP) — A senior center in Carbon County is getting an extra dose of happiness and it’s all thanks to one of its newest residents.

It’s been shown that dogs reduce stress and are also known to lift spirits.

That’s just what happens at the Heritage Hill Senior Community in Weatherly.

The dog responsible for bringing out that kind of emotion is Mikey, a recent addition to the family at Heritage.

His owner is memory care director Sara Kahr.

“I got a puppy and I saw the benefits he could bring to the residents here. We do have a therapy dog that comes once a month and I just see the way their faces light up,” Kahr said.

Mikey comes to the center three days a week.

“He knows his little routine, where we go first, and once he sees the double doors back here, he just bolts for our residents, he’s so excited.”

Most of Mikey’s day is spent with residents in the memory care neighborhood. It’s for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

“They light up, they smile, they’re so excited,” Kahr said. “They don’t remember his name but just the fact that he’s a puppy and he’s here for them, they know that.”

There were smiles aplenty when we were there.

“He wiggles all over the place, he’s so happy and I think he’s adorable.”

“He’s a sweet dog…He makes me very happy.”

Kahr says every visit is different for Mikey but one thing is certain.

“Every day that he’s here, we play with him, we walk him, and an abundance of belly rubs,” Kahr added.

The residents even get the chance to walk Mikey.

This curious pup usually peeks in every door along the way to see if anyone else would like to join in on the fun.

“He’s just a wonderful addition to our community,” said marketing director Rachael Kapestimm. “We’re a very pet-friendly community here so we encourage our residents’ families to bring in their pets.”

The ultimate goal is to train Mikey to become a certified therapy dog, but certified or not, Mikey knows how to bring joy to the residents at the Heritage Hill Senior Community.

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