Kelli Trujillo knew her 13-year-old Lahso Apso Misha had a special way with older people.
"She loves people. She would sit on my grandpa's lap when he was still alive for hours and hours and hours. That's why when the pet therapy program came along, I was like ok, she's perfect," says Kelli.
Misha is just one of 15 dogs in the Humane Society's Pet Therapy Program. Coordinators say the dogs visit nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals looking to provide comfort and plenty of love.
Angela Kufrovich, Pet Therapy Program co-coordinator, says, "There's a lady at one of the assisted living facilities that when her dog come out to visit, it really transforms her. She really brightens up."
It’s just one of many side effects from a program that develops and nurtures a special bond between the canine, patients, and of course, the handlers.
Trujillo adds, "The dogs get a chance to socialize with somebody else besides just their owner and it benefits the handlers because it creates a bond between a human and a K-9, which a lot of time you don't get working everyday."
It’s a relationship program organizers are hoping to duplicate and share with the elderly residents of a community that loves their pets.
Program coordinators say they hope to expand the program into the prisons and eventually include other animals besides just dogs in the therapy process.