In Your NeighborhoodCharlotte - Eaton Rapids


To fight loneliness, Charlotte nursing home gives residents mechanical pets

Screen Shot 2021-04-02 at 10.45.22 AM.png
Posted at 1:13 PM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 16:08:28-04

CHARLOTTE, Mich. — Mary Arnold is a resident at Eaton County Health and Rehabilitation Services. She got her dog, Sunny Boy, about three weeks ago.

He barks. He wags his tail.

And he runs on batteries.

Screen Shot 2021-04-02 at 11.18.03 AM.png
This is one of the 38 companion pets.

Sunny Boy is a Companion Pet, a mechanical stuffed animal made to give older adults the experience of pet ownership without the hassles of a real pet. The dogs and cats respond to touch and motion.

"He's lovable and keeps me happy," Arnold said, who brushes Sunny Boy's hair every day and sometimes brings him to activities.

The skilled-nursing facility was awarded 38 companion pets from Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. Since residents got their pets, the Experience Coordinator Sienna McCone said they've been in better spirits.

"The day we first started passing them out, everyone walking down the hall you can just hear their laughter in the rooms as they were playing and seeing them wag their tails and seeing all the different things they can do," said McCone. "And they wanted all the employees to come in and meet their pets. They wanted to show them off."

Resident with their dog .jpeg
Mary Arnold is holding Sunny Boy

Arnold hasn't seen her family in about a year and said it's been hard not seeing them but that Sunny Boy is great company.

"Just being there and watching TV with me. And watch what I'm doing. Like if I'm coloring or something and things like that," Arnold said.

McCone said they purchased seven additional pets and are looking into getting more since not all of the residents were able to get one.

Screen Shot 2021-04-02 at 11.18.19 AM.png
A resident is sitting with her companion pet.

Want to see more local news ? Visit the FOX47News Website.

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.

Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox.

Select from these options: Breaking News, Severe Weather, School Closings, Daily Headlines and Daily Forecasts.

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Travis Hicks

3:45 PM, May 23, 2022

Charlotte & Eaton Rapids

Neighborhood Reporter

Travis Hicks

FOX 47 News Neighborhood Newsletter