Goat lifts spirits of senior citizens at center
The second might be her red, knitted sweater and matching diaper with a hole for her wagging tail.
Three days a week, she commutes from an acreage south of Lincoln, Nebraska, to Gateway Senior Living Center to work as a therapy animal. Her job is to lift spirits just by being herself.
Gigi, a black and white miniature silky, often finds herself in someone's lap, being stroked softly and spoken to kindly by elderly residents.
"Hi sweetie. Hello," said Jean Vannice, one of her biggest fans. "I love her. She's so agreeable. So cute. So smart."
Her husband, Duane Vannice, likes Gigi, too. Unable to participate in recreational activities because of Parkinson's disease, he loves to hold her.
Studies have shown that goats, dogs and other therapy animals can ease feelings of separation from loved ones, lower blood pressure, heart rate and stress levels and reduce aggression and rage in Alzheimer's patients.
Miniature silkies are bred as show animals, and Gigi, who weighs 20 pounds, has a body temperature of 103 degrees — ideal for warming laps — and who loves people, is ideal for the job.
Critical thinking challenge: If goats are well-suited to helping elderly people, which animais are not well-suited, and why?
Define these words: aggression, miniature, agreeable
- Posted on November 11, 2012
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