SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Some furry friends are bringing a lot of smiles to senior health center in North County San Diego, but these animal companions actually run on batteries.
News 8 found the "purr-fect" companion at the Glenbrook Health Center where robotic pets are changing the lives of people living there with memory impairment.
Look at this cute pair. This robotic @Hasbro pup Ruffles “makes [Naomi Slyder] smile with her eyes again”-says her daughter. Where #roboticpets are making an impact on patients with memory impairment @news8 on @thecwsandiego @ 10 pic.twitter.com/QfLUaAp0b2— Abbie Alford (@AbbieNews8) July 10, 2018
Naomi Slyder - a resident at Glenbook living with dementia - met Ruffles the golden retriever "puppy" a few months ago.
"I just love her," said Naomi. "[I'm] really attached her."
The thing about Ruffle is she's a robot, so she's easy to care for - no picking up after her and she's a good listener. Naomi's daughter Susan Morrison says it's been life changing.
"I can tell you that it has made a huge difference in her life," said Susan. "She smiles with her eyes now. She is really happy."
Six months ago, Glenbrook Health Center explored the robotic pet program and purchased 12 robotic pets for about $100 each, which enrich the lives of residents, especially when one is adjusting to their new home.
"The effect on our residents [is] they have a sense of purpose, especially for those residents that have visual, auditory and [other] problems or feelings of loneliness," said Glenbrook assistant administrator Phil Padilla.
Phil admits he was skeptical about the program at first.
"Wow, I was proven wrong," he said.
Research shows that animals and battery-charged pets can improve psychological health and reduce stress.
One night with a robotic dog even helped a sleepless resident at Glenbrook.
"Literally the next day, her crying, her anxiousness stopped, and everybody said, 'wow,'" said Glenbrook life enrichment director Lorena Morales.
Many are surprised by healing power charged by two double-A batteries.
"It kind of came out of nowhere," said Susan Morrison. "We had no idea there were Ruffles out there."
Click here to learn more about Glenbrook and the robotic pet program.
The San Diego Humane Society on Thursday deployed its emergency response team to Butte County to assist in animal rescues as the Camp Fire continues to devastate Northern California.
Aided by diminishing winds, fire crews expanded the containment line around the deadly Woolsey Fire Thursday, while more evacuation orders were lifted and a firefighter was hospitalized after being run over by a vehicle while sleeping.
Each week, the News 8 Crimefighters help authorities in looking for fugitives in San Diego. This week’s fugitive is: Jennifer Michelle Kidd
Cool weather helped fire crews gain ground Thursday against the nation's deadliest wildfire in a century, as the search went on for more bodies. At least 56 people were killed and 300 were unaccounted for a week after the flames swept through.
The strong winds we saw this week left a mess in some parts of the county - including at a very special horse-riding facility in Ramona.
Five nurses from Scripps Health, who are part of a medical response team, are traveling to Northern California to care for the people affected by the Camp Fire.
A transient accused of repeatedly burglarizing the office of a South Bay community group before torching the premises last week pleaded not guilty Thursday to a slew of charges including arson of a structure, grand theft and burglary.
A 52-year-old professional photographer was arrested this week on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl during a modeling session in Carlsbad, authorities reported Thursday.