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Tallahassee Memorial Animal Therapy Program continues on through the pandemic

Holding daily virtual meetings to lift the communities spirit
Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare Animal Therapy Program
Posted at 3:10 AM, Dec 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-05 08:29:36-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A visit from a furry friend can give people a sense of comfort through difficult times, which is why a local animal therapy program has continued on through the pandemic.

Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare's Animal Therapy Program has 200 trained volunteers and animals serving groups across the big bend.

Although dogs comprise the greater number of therapy animals, the program also includes cats, parrots, miniature horses, alpacas and a horse.

From the hospital and rehab center to schools and nursing homes, these furry friends have been bring joy for 15 years.

Before the pandemic, the different animals would visit everyone in person, but now it's only virtual and contact-less visit.

"It really is just about having sort of just a community connection, so it's connecting on screen, off screen and just knowing someone cares about you," Program Director Stephanie Perkins said. "I think seeing the animals on the screen and being able to talk to them and keep up with them on screen has helped everyone."

Perkins said the program is still able to do visits everyday, and hopes to be fully back to normal once the COVID-19 vaccine is largely distributed.