Not even a pandemic could stop the Humane Society of Greater Miami’s amazing Pet Therapy team from unleashing the love of their precious pups to help those who need it! After the COVID-19 “stay at home” orders were put in place, volunteers from the Humane Society’s Pet Therapy Program were no longer allowed to make their usual visits to people in nursing homes, courthouses, hospitals and other places around the community. But that did not stop Dr. Yair Levy and his two children, Maya and Ethan, from continuing their commitment to giving the residents at Regents Park Rehabilitation Center in Aventura much-needed therapy sessions with their seven-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Choco. Yair worked with Marco Bruno, Activities Director at Regents Park, and his assistant, JoAnne Vidal, to arrange virtual pet therapy sessions with the residents. The result was priceless!
Vidal set up a Skype call with Choco and his humans on a large iPad and visited each resident so they could spend some time with the furry sweetheart. The mere sight of their long-time four-legged friend immediately brightened their days and had them smiling from ear to ear. The Levy family has been visiting the nursing home since 2014 and Friday’s were Choco’s regular day to spread her love around. “They didn’t know when they would get to see Choco again and were continuously asking” Levy said. “I knew there had to be a way for the residents to stay connected to Choco and keep their spirits up.” After not seeing Choco for three weeks, the residents could not be happier to see her again! “It was a heartwarming experience to see the smiles on their faces. I had to hold back tears,” Levy said.
“When I heard about this and received Levy’s photos, I was overcome with emotion,” said Lisa DePriest, Community Relations Manager who oversees the Pet Therapy Program at the Humane Society of Greater Miami, where the Levys’ are registered Pet Therapy volunteers. “This was just the kind of thing we needed during this stressful time. I’m so proud of all of our volunteers for their ongoing dedication to lifting the spirits of others. In this particular case, the Levy’s not only lifted the residents’ spirits, but also those of the staff at Regents Park and all of us at the Humane Society of Greater Miami.”
The Levy’s, along with their therapy dog, Choco, will to continue their weekly visits virtually until they are able to visit again in person. “With everything going on right now, I think we all feel a bit isolated. It is so important that we stay connected in any way possible,” said DePriest.
We couldn’t agree more.