The 50-pound porker provides comfort at Czorny Alzheimer Centre in Surrey.
Rosie the emotional therapy pig celebrated its first birthday with cake and smiles on Saturday at the Czorny Alzheimer Centre in Surrey.
Fraser Valley Health introduced the tutu-wearing piglet to the centre last year to help bring comfort to Czorny’s residents, as well as to their families and the centre’s staff.
“She’s just a really good bridge between me and the staff and the other residents. It creates a lot of communication,” said Carmen Arndt, whose husband is a resident at the centre. “If I’m having a bad visit with my husband, I’ll go grab Rosie and everything is not so bad all of a sudden.”
Fraser Valley Health says the benefits of pet therapy include: reducing anxiety, lessening boredom, providing comfort, encouraging communication, and lowering feelings of isolation and alienation.
It’s believed the Czorny centre is the only residential care home in Canada using a micro pig for therapy.
“I was raised on a farm and we often had runty pigs in our house that we would try to save. So, I’ve always really liked pigs and thought they had great value,” said Kerry Netherton, a program coordinator at the centre. “A couple of years ago I found out that they were using therapy pigs in the United States in residential care homes and became interested in pursuing whether we could actually do that.”