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Port Orange Observer Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 5 days ago

Bringing joy to Volusia County's assisted-living-facility residents through pet therapy

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Jan Wenger has been a part of the Southeast Volusia Humane Society for about 10 months.
by: Nichole Osinski Staff Writer

Jan Wenger not only has a passion for fostering animals but she also has been using the animals she rescues to bring some joy to residents who can't live on their own anymore. 

Jan Wenger with a foster kitten. Photo courtesy of Jan Wenger

Wenger is a participant of a pet therapy program started six months ago through the Southeast Volusia Humane Society. The program brings cats and dogs into three nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  

One 95-year-old woman recently celebrated her birthday with a few of the cats volunteers brought in.

"A lot of places can't have pet,s but people used to have pets and like to tell their stories about their pets," said Wenger, who started fostering kittens two years ago. "It's always nice to listen to their stories about their animals."

Wenger also runs the organization's adoption events and heads to the local Petco several days per month to help find permanent homes for the animals. 

A resident at an assisted living facility holds a cat used for pet therapy. Photo courtesy of Jan Wenger

"Working with animals is so much fun," Wenger said. "I love it."

The first time Wenger fostered, she had seven kittens, two of which she ended up keeping. She currently is fostering three kittens. The kittens are usually kept for about eight weeks to allow them to put on weight and be ready for a new home. 

Some of the cats she has brought in for the pet therapy have even been adopted by the people who work there.

The program "brings smiles to everyone," Wenger said. "It's just a happy experience."

For more information or to volunteer, visit sevhumanesociety.org

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