Helen Woodward Animal Center Programs and Services:
Helen Woodward Animal Center is more than you may think! It is a place where children and adults with special needs find special friends in the gentle horses of the therapeutic riding program. It offers a place where children can learn to love and care for pets in the center’s education programs. Home-bound people no longer need to worry how they’ll feed their pet because of our Animeals program. Helen Woodward also sponsor conferences on animal care for representatives of animal centers from around the world.
The Pet Encounter Therapy (PET) program brings the unconditional love and tactile benefits of animals to people in a variety of settings – skilled nursing facilities, children’s shelters, hospitals, psychiatric units and many more. Groups also have the option to visit the Center for on-site programs. Staff and volunteers take dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and guinea pigs to visit more than 50 facilities a month, with many organizations on our waiting list. Studies document that holding and caressing an animal provides benefits such as relaxation, lower blood pressure, improved long- and short-term memory, and sensory stimuli.
Animals often bring out the best in people. They can calm hyperactive children or stimulate movement and interaction in those with physical disabilities. During pet visits, staff have seen movement from unresponsive patients or heard words spoken for the first time – all to the amazement of fellow residents and staff members.