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Blind therapy dog brings joy to shut-in seniors

Posted at 7:24 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 19:24:49-04

EATON RAPIDS, Mich. — As nursing homes and assisted living facilities are not allowing visitors to protect a vulnerable population from the coronavirus, those that offer pet therapy are getting creative to allow special four-legged friends to keep visiting.

Therapy dog Baby has visited Island City Assisted Living in Eaton Rapids for more than 6 years and has been through her fair share of storms.

"She has been through a lot with the loss of her eyes and she has hearing loss as well. She's a cancer survivor and she's had some other issues," said Baby's mom Pat Ward.

Over the years she's built up a relationship with the residents.

"She's our elf at Christmas time, our fireworks on the forth of July. She's our St. Valentine on Valentine's Day, so she's always here," said Human Resources Director Stephanie Hall.

So when the senior care facilities closed to all visitors because of coronavirus, Ward knew they had to find a way for Baby to still make her visits.

"We created a way where we can just go to the windows and keep everyone safe," said Ward.

Once a week they visit the seniors like Ellen, outside of their windows.

"Everybody loves her, yeah they do, she's a sweetheart," said Ellen.

Hall says the visits are also therapeutic.

"Lowering blood pressure when they're around, the release of oxytocin for our physical healthy, mental health, it reduces boredom, depression, anxiety," said Hall.

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