Transforming Quality of Life Through Pet Interaction
By Silverado Staff Writer
Silverado’s pet integration has always been a staple of our unique philosophy of care. It allows individuals to enjoy life to its fullest potential by not just being cared for, but being cared about.
At an early age, Silverado Co-Founder Loren Shook witnessed the transformational power of pet interaction first-hand. Working at a family-run psychiatric care facility, he met a woman who had been catatonic for years. After conversation with her family, the staff learned of her lifelong love for horses so they brought out one of facility’s gentle horses to greet her as she arrived.
To the amazement of everyone observing, the woman moved her arm and began petting the horse. As a result of the staff’s kindness, and her renewed interest in life, she was gradually able to regain the ability to walk and speak again.
Over the years, at our Silverado communities, we have seen literally hundreds of similar resident transformations – most recently with Silverado resident Audrey Hannah.
Audrey was an avid animal lover all her life, but due to her progressive memory loss she ultimately became unable to care for a pet of her own. Initially, when Audrey moved into Silverado, she experienced frequent bouts with agitation and anxiety, sometimes lasting the duration of the day and into the night.
Then, with the introduction of pets to this new Silverado community, Audrey began forming an unexpected friendship with Dolly – a retired service dog that recently joined the Silverado family. In no time at all, Audrey began introducing visitors and guests to her dog. And, as a result, Audrey’s demeanor has undergone a significant improvement.
“I totally notice a difference in my mom,” explains Audrey’s daughter. “Getting Dolly was the best thing ever. [Now], every time she calls she gives me an update on Dolly. It has given us something positive to talk about.” It has also contributed to Audrey’s renewed quality of life.