Pet Partners Reduces Cincinnati’s Stress with the Power of Pet Therapy | Features


As the country emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, many are trying to readjust to what was once their normal life, as well as the stresses of work, school or health issues. Often this can be overwhelming. Pet therapy is an underappreciated and increasingly common resource for stress management. Pet Partners is a firm believer in the ability of companion animals to restore people’s energy levels, cope with health issues and improve their overall mood.

Pet Partners is a national non-profit organization founded in 1991 that acts as a resource for the human-animal bond and champions the role of animals in human health and well-being. The Cincinnati Local was officially founded in 2004. The organization regularly visits schools, retirement communities and health care facilities to spread its message. According to the organization, members use their own pets to make people feel less nervous and more comfortable.

Heather Hauser, the Cincinnati Chapter’s Tours Coordinator, has been with the organization since 2018. Hauser organizes and runs tours to different locations so residents can experience the human-pet bond that Pet Partners promotes. These visits maximize people’s understanding of the importance of therapy animals in our lives.

“Interacting with therapy animals has been proven to increase your oxytocin levels and make people happy,” Hauser said. “So when people are stressed, it’s good to give them something else to think about.”

The organization strives to visit as many different places as possible, so that most people can experience the positive effects of interacting with therapy animals. Pet Partners even traveled to the University of Cincinnati (UC) to help students during stressful times, like exam week.

Each year, Pet Partners hosts its World’s Largest Pet Walk fundraiser, which it hopes will have at least 1,500 walkers and raise $100,000 to support its program. The event sees people from all over the United States participate.

This year’s walk for the Cincinnati Chapter will take place on September 24, where Pet Partners will ask pet owners across the city to walk their pets individually in honor of the cause. Although many bring their dogs on occasion, walks previously included all sorts of different people and pets, including rabbits, guinea pigs and llamas.

The walk will also host an occupational therapy conference at Xavier University, where they will talk about the benefits of pet therapy. The Pet Partners Appreciation Operation event will also take place to honor veterans and first responders.

Money raised from the march will be used for recruiting, according to Hauser. Specifically, the organization hopes to operate more handler workshops to train its volunteers. The organization also hopes to create a scholarship program for Cincinnatians to register with Pet Partners so that their pet can complete all the training necessary to become a therapy animal. “These funds are needed to raise awareness and engage more people in such a vital service,” Hauser said.

One of Pet Partners of Greater Cincinnati’s goals is to recruit more members to address staffing shortages. “We have so many visitation requests and sometimes we don’t even have enough people to fill them all,” Hauser said. “Pet therapy is really exploding and becoming a bigger business.”

Another of the organization’s goals is to expand and promote its work with first responders, such as firefighters and police officers. They also hope to become more involved in school reading programs for struggling readers. “Kids feel less nervous about reading to a dog than to another person, so this program would help them improve their reading skills,” said Cincinnati chapter president Jen Garret.

The more Pet Partners gets people to volunteer, the closer it gets to the goal of “making a positive difference in the lives we touch at every facility we visit, while educating the community about the meaningful value of connection.” human-animal. “


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