Dogs pay a refreshing visit to residents in local nursing home

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SHENANDOAH, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) – Residents of Shenandoah Manor Nursing Center got some furry visitors Monday.

A dozen dogs from the DAWGS Prison Program made their rounds outside the center, peeking in to say hello from a safe distance away. Amy Eckert runs the program and says the visit is a way to give back to the community during the pandemic.

“We feel really strong about giving back to the community and it’s the hardest hit with a lot or the seniors right now. So if they’re not able to see a lot of their friends and family, get a lot visits, that’s hard,” Eckert said.

The dogs were brought from areas with high volume or high kill shelters. They were then trained by inmates at local Schuylkill County prisons as part of the DAWGS prison program.

“So they learn their basic commands obedience, also crate training, house training, and after four weeks they’re ready for adoption,” Eckert said.

The dogs performed tricks, waved, and said hello to their new friends.

Eckert says she hopes the visit will help brighten the spirits of the residents and make them smile. She says pet therapy does wonders to help people.

“I mean it up lifts your spirits, you know it makes you happier. There’s studies out there it lowers your blood pressure and again mental health, it really, really helps to look forward to something,” Eckert said.

She says the dogs will visit other senior care homes as well.

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