EMA, Red Cross offer pet therapy sessions

Published 3:09 pm Wednesday, June 15, 2016

By Shayla Terry

Emergency Management Agency (EMA) director Elliot Jones is set to go for Luverne’s first pet therapy session.

Pet therapy is a guided interaction between a person and a trained animal. The purpose of pet therapy is to help someone recover from or cope with a health problem or mental disorder.

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Jones says he was introduced to pet therapy in Memphis when a family member was hospitalized.

“It was wonderful,” Jones said.

“I knew we need something like that here, so I’m trying my best to make it happen.”

A Red Cross affiliate group will come from Northern Alabama to the EMA office in Luverne on Friday, June 17 to train and certify participants to be pet handlers.

The pet therapy program is tailored for the elderly so they won’t feel alone.

“Once the participants are trained and certified, then pet handlers in our community can go out and visit nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living and private homes and bring cheer to the elderly,” Jones said.

The June 17 pet therapy training session is currently full, but Jones says there will be additional sessions in the future.

“It’s all about us trying to take care of each other,” Jones said.