MINOT- Some shelter animals have found a new purpose.The Souris Valley Animal Shelter now offers a pet therapy program.
It's a busy day for Velma and volunteer Jaclyn.
They're headed to Trinity nursing home, where eager residents are waiting for their Pet Therapy session.
"we discovered something that can impact the community and help out the people of the Minot are," said Justin Anderson, Community Outreach Coordinator at SVAS.
Once a week volunteers from the shelter take a shelter pet to visit patients at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and the domestic violence crisis center.
"it's not just the people in these places that are getting the opportunity to interact with the pets, our pets are getting the opportunity to get out socialize a bit more, it's an hour that they are not spending in their kennel it serves that dual purpose," said Anderson.
Pets are taken to a common rooms where residents play, pet, and sometimes even walk them.
"Not only does it help other people. but it helps me as well, benefits so many people in so many ways," said volunteer Jaclyn Beregstein.
Like the people living at Trinity Homes.
" they relax you and keep you in touch with reality," said resident Marlene Hovea of Trinity Homes.
The facilities where the pets visit, are places where residents are unable to own or have a pet.
"Maybe it's something that they miss or maybe it's something that they just enjoy it allows them to have some kind of a bright spot for there day," said Anderson.
The Souris valley animal shelter hopes to continue to be a resource to the Minot community.
"we want to move in to a position within the community where were not just a place where you can go and find a dog or a cat," Anderson said.
by the end of Velmas visit, the pup decided being a lap dog isn't too bad a job.
For more information about the pet therapy program or how to become involved with the animal shelter you can visit our the SVAS site here.