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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Pet therapy for Southern California seniors during the pandemic

Southern California nonprofit Pet Prescription got creative with its pet therapy sessions at nursing homes, hospitals, jails.

SAN DIEGO — Many elderly folks are isolated from their loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic and it can get pretty lonely. A nonprofit based in Southern California with the goal of putting a smile on their faces, gathered its four-legged volunteers to pay them a special visit.

"There is something about a dog, when they look into the eyes of whomever they’re visiting, reaches their souls," said Krystal Emery, founder of Pet Prescription

The nonprofit started in 2003 trains and brings therapy dogs to places like nursing homes, rehab facilities, as well as jails. 

When the pandemic put a stop to in-person visits, Emery said she and her team of volunteers had to get creative. They chose not to let the physical distance prevent them from making a difference. 

"I believe all things happen for a reason," she said. "I believe we will all be better people from this event."

On Sunday, seniors at the Heritage Court Assisted Living Center received a visit from Pet Prescription. Instead of bringing the dogs inside the building, they held them up at the windows.

"When I saw the photos, I broke, I have to be honest with you," Emery said.

"The one that touched me the most was the resident throwing kisses," she added. "The volunteer had kissed her hand, blew it, she, in turn, kissed her hand and blew it."

Emery said the connection dogs are able to make with people is incredible. 

"I think they have a power that we as humans we don’t have," she said. "It’s that unconditional love. No matter what, bad day, good day, you touch your dog, you feel good."

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