A New Kind of Therapy
It is scientifically proven that interacting with gentle, friendly pets has significant health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and improving cardiovascular health. The simple act of petting produces an automatic relaxation response; it releases endorphins (oxytocin) that have a calming effect. Further, trained Therapy Dogs have been proven to lift spirits, lessen depression, decrease feeling of isolation, and provide comfort, lower anxiety, increase socialization, and much more.
For the employees at our Day Habilitation sites, a calming influence is often what the people we support need to get back on track. Some locations have creative outlets like painting or drawing while others have sensory rooms for people to use when needed. At Abbott Day Habilitation, they have Ladybug.
Ladybug, whose full name is Lindy “Ladybug” Ruff (after a retired Buffalo Sabre), was a stray basset hound from South Carolina who was then rescued by Day Hab Manager Alyssa Kapella. Ladybug is a very laid-back, caring, and loving dog. Alyssa loves her dog and wanted to share her with everyone at Abbott Day Hab but dogs can be unpredictable, even the most gentle. She knew in order to bring Ladybug in to meet everyone; the dog would have to be specially trained to be able to adjust to different sounds, touches, and noise levels. Alyssa decided to find a place to take Ladybug where she could become a certified Therapy Dog.
After receiving her certification and ID, Ladybug was able to meet everyone at the Abbott Day Hab. Upon her arrival, everyone was excited to meet her, pet her and welcome her to the group. Ladybug loves to be petted, especially on her ears. For anyone who is having a tough time, caressing her velvety soft ears brings a sense of calm faster than anything the group had seen before. Times when stress levels are elevated Ladybug remains quiet and often comes to the feet of the person in need, waiting to give comfort.
We are happy for Ladybug’s success at the Abbott Day Hab and all that she has done for the people that we support. We look forward to hearing more wonderful stories from the Abbott Day Hab team. This year will be Ladybug’s one year anniversary at the Day Hab, and her presence has brought happiness and comfort. Alyssa is grateful for the response and support she received when she asked to bring in a Certified Therapy Dog. We want to thank you, Alyssa for following procedure and thinking outside the box!