Charleston Animal Society understands just how much animals make people feel better. So when a local hospital reached out for their help, the rescue organization jumped at the opportunity. The Canines for Caregivers program benefits health-care workers at the Medical University of South Carolina and all four Roper St. Francis Campuses around Charleston.
“We are bringing puppies, kittens, dogs and rabbits to meet health-care workers that are slammed with the second round of COVID-19 to give a sense of calm,” Erin Nosker, manager of business partnerships at Charleston Animal Society, said.
During the first hospital visit at the end of August 2021, health-care workers cuddled with 10 shelter pets, and played fetch with two service border collies. While there was a lot of happy snuggle time, Erin admits it was an emotional experience.
“There were a lot of tears,” Erin said. “It’s very emotional for them. I don't think that we understand the magnitude of what these people have been going through for the past almost 2 years. It’s tough for them, so to be able to put a smile on their face while cuddling a puppy is the least we can do.”
However, the health-care workers aren’t the only ones benefiting from the visits — the puppies and kittens gain from the experiences, too. “It socializes them in large groups of people and gets them used to being touched,” Erin said. “These puppies are anywhere between 6 to 8 weeks old, so they are still in the learning phase of development. It brings a lot of socialization and it wears them out, too.”
Because of how beneficial the program is, Charleston Animal Society is planning more hospital visits in the future. “We have the capacity to help out our community in their time of need,” Erin said.
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Photo by Charleston Animal Society