A group from Seaman High School visited Topeka Presbyterian Manor earlier this year, and they brought some furry friends along.
Sophomore Morgan Sharp had conducted some research into animal therapy and was inspired by what she learned.
“I started to think of ways I could use animal therapy to help our community, and nursing homes were one of my first choices,” she said.
Earlier this year, students and teachers brought three dogs to Presbyterian Manor and two other senior living communities in the Topeka area.
The students are members of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. Every year, members of the career and technical student organization choose different volunteer projects. Four club members participated in the animal therapy experiment. Morgan’s younger sister and two teachers joined them.
The Sharps’ dog Toby, a Boston terrier, served as one of the canine companions. The two teachers brought certified therapy dogs: Loki, a pit bull mix, and Belle, a Pomeranian.
Residents were “excited and surprised” to meet the dogs, Morgan said. Some of them told the students stories about their own beloved childhood pets.
“It was really eye-opening to see what kind of happiness we could spread through therapy dogs,” Morgan said. “I was amazed at the change in the residents’ outlook.”
She says it won’t be her last visit to Presbyterian Manor.
“We definitely plan to do it again.”