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Visits Of Smiles c/o Laura Skinner

Chico, California

Cause Description:
Pumpkin and her trainer/handler Laura, spend their time working in the community, sharing smiles, laughter, and sharing how important service and therapy animals are to the elderly, terminally ill, the injured and convalescing. While Pumpkin visits those in convalescent homes, retirement homes, rehabilitation centers, assisted living facilities, schools both public and private and various community events, she demonstrates the importance of service animals. Through seminars and public speaking, Laura shares details about service animals, their training, and the laws governing them, educating the public of the definitive changes in law that clarifies the differences. Laura and Pumpkin demonstrate and explain the difference between an animal trained in Service, Animal Assisted Therapy/Activities and companion animals. Extensive studies have shown that having interactions with a pet or other calm and loving animal encourages healing, promotes health, and improves mental health, most especially the depressed or suicidal. Studies show that volunteer animal teams have measurable effects on health and healing such as cardiac and neurological functioning, as well as psychological mood enhancement. Interaction with a loving animal and handler has been shown to improve mental health and spur the interest in recovery for the seriously injured. In addition, studies have shown that interaction with animals and trained handlers can improve motor skills and mental acuity by assisting in grooming the animal (with modified equipment) or just petting an animal.

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