KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With the pandemic slowing down in-person interactions, KC Pet Partners said it remains committed to the mission of improving human health through the power of the human-animal bond.
"What we can do is encourage people through animal-related engagement. Any activity that can remind you of those feelings or stimulate those feelings that you have with an interaction with an animal. It doesn’t have to be in person," licensed instructor Julie Goodman said.
Goodman's poodle, Jordan is one of the many animals that provides comfort and emotional support to clients and patients.
"We have a lot of relationships with healthcare providers here in Kansas City. What we’ve been doing is sending little videos and cards and letters from them to say, we miss you and we’re thinking about you and you’re our heroes, that kind of thing," Goodman said. "The other thing we’re focusing on doing is getting the public to understand the power of this bond."
The animals work with people of all ages, including young children.
KC Pet Partners mounted a new program online to help their younger clientele.
"One of the platforms that Pet Partners has recently launched is, 'I’m All Ears.' It’s where parents can visit the website, enroll their child, set a goal, print off bookmarks and read to their own pet. Get a certificate of completion when they’re done. If they don’t have a pet, those stuffed animals are great listeners, so that’s an option too," Goodman said.
She added that the service they provide is extremely important, and it's been a challenging time during the pandemic.
"They are unconditional in their acceptance, they don’t care what you look like or what kind of mood you’re in, they are just there to be loved," Goodman said. "Jordan is a great one to lay in bed with patients, what you see is what normally goes on in the hospitals. I’m a nurse and I’ve always been so impressed with the number of people in pain or are uncomfortable, and we’re there visiting and the pain seems to vanish for a while. Doesn’t mean it goes away, just that their focus has shifted here."