Helen Woodward Animal Center’s alpacas visit nursing facility
RANCHO SANTA FE (KUSI) – With the rise of the COVID-19 crisis, hospital and special care facilities have been closed to visitors
Helen Woodward Animal Center’s alpacas, Kronk and Kuzco, greeted seniors outside the dining hall window at Boulder Creek Post Accute at a socially safe distance on Tuesday.
Kronk and Kuzco are not Pet Encounter Therapy regulars. As two of the Center’s Education Ambassadors, the twosome spend the majority of their days chomping hay in their corral and greeting children as part of the Humane Education program.
The idea to make Kronk and Kuzco honorary Pet Encounter Therapy members was inspired by the current climate. With patients unable to cuddle with the regular PET dogs and bunnies, a surprising guest (or two) outside the skilled nursing facility windows seemed the next best thing. What the pair couldn’t offer in cuddle time, they could make up for with delight, joy and laughter.
“In the many years I have worked with this program, I have seen the unique gifts each animal can bring to this type of therapy,” explained Robin Cohen, PET Manager. “Cockatoos are wonderful with clients dealing with paralysis because they can sit on a shoulder and nuzzle and talk. Mini horses are wonderful for children because they are right at eye level. These alpacas are some of our funniest characters. They make us laugh every day and we knew they’d be the perfect key to inspiring smiles right now. ”