Pet Therapy at Alaris Health at West Orange Helps Bring a Smile to Faces and Fosters Healing

Pet Therapy dog, Matti, comes on a weekly basis to Alaris Health at West Orange and has made many friends among the residents.  When this furry bundle of support visits, the residents greet the dog happily.   

“Therapy dogs like Matti lift the spirits of our residents.  They encourage socialization, and help everyone to reminisce about the animals they had in the past, and their memories of childhood with these animals. A dog lying on the bed and cuddling up with someone brings a personal touch and real comfort,” says Sindy Vaillencourt, Administrator at Alaris Health at West Orange.   

Mary Hesselgrave has been bringing her dog, Matti, a beagle mix who is a rescue dog, to the facility every Tuesday.  She says the little dog “loves everyone” and is not afraid of wheelchairs or walkers.   

“Matti walks up to people and they smile.  She reminds them of pets they used to own and that brings up happy thoughts. Once when we visited I heard two patients talking and one said that she was waiting for her pain pill. The other replied that Matti was here, and that the other woman did not feel the pain when the dog was around. It was a wonderful thing to hear how much she helps people,” says Ms. Hesselgrave, who is also a Eucharistic Minister for the facility.   

For more information about Alaris Health at West Orange, please call (973) 324-3000.