Dogs are all heart and love with no judgement.
Andrei is an English Cream Golden Retriever born in August of 2019. He can often be found visiting his grandmother and the other residents’ at Langdon Place of Nashua, an Assisted Living Facility in South Nashua. Andrei’s nickname is Andy, so that is what we call him here at Langdon Place of Nashua. Andy and his owner, Debbie Kroll, have been bringing smiles to the residents’ faces for close to four years. Andy’s 3rd Birthday Party was one of the most well attended social events of the season!
Debbie, a retired Registered Nurse, understands the importance of Pet Therapy and how a visit with Andy can reduce loneliness and provide a source of support and comfort. While Langdon Place of Nashua does allow pets but some residents prefer not to have that responsibility. Some residents miss the companionship of a pet and a visit from Andy can be just what the doctor ordered.
Dog Therapy is being increasingly used as an evidenced based, non-pharmacological approach to dementia-related behaviors. Petting, brushing, feeding, and talking to a pet can make a senior feel needed and engaged. Studies show seniors who spend time with animals report fewer bouts of depression, higher patient satisfaction, a reduction in anxiety, an increase in energy, and have lower blood pressure. When Andy saunters down the halls of our memory care unit, residents remember and enjoy his soft touch, how he makes them feel and the fond memories he sparks of times past.
Residents who rarely speak will have full conversations with Andy (we don’t know exactly what Andy says back to them, but we are pretty sure it conveys happiness and encouragement). Dogs are all heart and love with no judgement. Andy is able to gently interact with our resident’s in a meaningful way by picking up cues, reading body language, and responding to commands.
Andy started his socializing skills at the young age of 8 weeks while all the staff cooed over this adorable little puppy. No one could resist giving him a scratch and a treat. Debbie spent hours working with Andy to successfully complete Basic and Intermediate Obedience Classes and obtain his Canine Good Citizen Certificate from Hudson K-9 Training in Nashua. When Andy turned 2, he passed his test with the Pets and People Foundation in Westford, MA and he and Debbie became a certified Pets and People Therapy Team.
Andy can be seen scampering down the halls of Langdon Place of Nashua on a daily basis, except when he is at his vacation home in Nantucket. He pops in and out of rooms to say hello to all the staff members and residents. The nurses and the aides on the floors appreciate a stress-relieving visit from Andy as well. He likes to attend all the celebrations and be a part of the fun. When all of the resident’s had their photos taken in October, Andy was front and center to get his picture taken. Now, his portrait hangs proudly outside the activities room with his puppy picture. Twice a month he does rounds and personal visits to resident’s rooms.
While the seniors of Langdon Place of Nashua get to enjoy the benefits of Pet Therapy on a regular basis, Andy and Debbie do additional volunteer work. They have been participating in “Destressing Events” at local hospitals, schools and businesses. Per the Pets and People Foundation, these events help ease anxiety and stress of students, employees, faculty and staff.
The Mission of the Pets and People Foundation is “To touch people’s lives in a positive way and to provide a sense of well-being to those we meet”. Andy fulfills his mission and is considered a beloved member of our recreation and memory care program. We are lucky to have him!