This program began in 1986 with the late Ruth Curry and a handful of dedicated volunteers
visiting local nursing homes with their pets. Since that time, the Pet-A-Pet Club has
grown to over 300 volunteers who also visit with abused and developmentally disabled
children and adults, hospital and rehabilitation patients, and assisted-living residents
throughout Southeast Michigan. In 1992, a humane education section was started in the Livonia
public schools to teach children respect and care for animals and all living creatures.
Pets have often played an integral part of growing up in a family setting through childhood and adult life.
Yet, in their declining years, older citizens are often placed in an environment which does not allow for the companionship of animals.
Research in animal-facilitated therapy has shown benefits of the human/animal bond to include:
- Lowering blood pressure through stroking and petting
- Relieving loneliness, boredom and depression
- Providing Sensory stimulation, especially touch
- Facilitating conversation during and after visits
- Stimulating laughter
- Increasing morale since animals are non-judgemental
- Providing an outlet for emotional expression
- Providing a feeling of being loved and accepted