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Heritage Woods of Ottawa is proud to offer residents the option of owning a pet while living in an assisted living environment. There are multiple residents who own cats at Heritage Woods of Ottawa. 

A pet companion presents many health benefits to their owners, like lower cholesterol levels and can even prevent heart attack and stroke. They can also help fight depression. Pet therapy for seniors, also known as Animal Assisted Therapy, is a technique that uses animals to interact with seniors for numerous reasons to help improve their quality of life. Studies show that just fifteen minutes spent bonding with an animal promotes hormonal changes within the brain. Stress levels drop as the brain produces serotonin (the “feel-good” hormone), along with prolactin and oxytocin. This is why therapy animals are good companions for seniors, because they offer so many amazing health benefits. 

Studies show that seniors who are active and always around others, or who own a pet decline in health far less rapidly than isolated or depressed seniors. Having an animal in a senior’s life can help improve their well-being and give new meaning to their life. Due to the numerous health benefits therapy animals provide, many assisted living facilities are starting to include pet therapy in their regular senior care programs. Being around animals makes people feel better, healthier, and happier. 

For the residents who live at Heritage Woods but do not own a pet, we have scheduled volunteers who bring in their pets for residents to visit with. One such volunteer is Vera, a German shepherd. Vera comes every Friday and greets residents in common areas. She is sweet and very well mannered, residents always look forward to Vera’s visits! 

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