Purina Canada teams up with CAMH to support mental health healing through animal-assisted therapy

Thursday, November 16, 2017 Mental Health News
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Nestlé Purina PetCare to match Gifts of Light donations and provide a $30,000 grant to study benefits of animal-assisted therapy

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Nov. 16, 2017 /CNW/ - Nestlé Purina PetCare Canada (Purina) announced today it will be sponsoring the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)'s Pet Therapy Program.
Purina will match consumer donations up to a total of $10,000 through CAMH's Gifts of Light program, as well as sponsor a $30,000 grant to study the health impact of the bond between humans and animals, and promote animal-assisted therapy.

Gifts of Light support CAMH clients on their journey to recovery with basic necessities such as pajamas and toiletries, as well as meaningful experiences like visits from the volunteer-run Pet Therapy Program. The Pet Therapy Program at CAMH brings 28 therapy dogs to every in-patient unit and most out-patient units of the hospital, from youth to geriatrics, touching more than 600 clients every week. Anyone can support the Pet Therapy Program or give a meaningful gift through the Gifts of Light website. Purina will match consumers' donations to Pet Therapy up to a total of $10,000 through the program, which runs year-round. "We are proud to support the CAMH Pet Therapy program, which will help so many people in their recovery process" said Katy Phillips, Director of Marketing at Purina Canada. "The positive bond between people and pets has been a key pillar of Purina's commitment to people and pets for many years."

Purina has also provided CAMH with a $30,000 grant to study the positive health impacts of the human-animal bond specifically. The research study will be led by CAMH's Interim Director of Research in Education Dr. Sophie Soklaridis. Focus groups will be conducted with patients to co-create animal-assisted therapy (AAT) activities, in order to facilitate positive change toward their recovery process. This research will help inform a growing AAT program at CAMH, one of the leading addiction and mental health organizations in North America, and Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital.

"Anyone who knows dogs understands that their love is unconditional. Our therapy dogs love visiting our clients as much as our clients look forward to their visits," said Theresa Conforti, a CAMH volunteer coordinator who leads the Pet Therapy Program. "For some clients, a visit from a therapy dog means a cuddle with a lapdog, for others it means a great walk in a local park. The bond between therapy dogs and clients is so powerful." 

To illustrate the way CAMH Clients feel about the Pet Therapy Program, here are a couple of recent testimonials from participants:

The dogs make me feel safe and help with my anxiety. Being here can be lonely at times, and the animals help me to feel less stress, if only for an hour at a time.

I miss my dogs so much. I have two Frenchies at home and my mom is taking care of them. They are not allowed to visit so this is the next best thing. I actually didn't know that we had pet therapy in the unit until I arrived. I was so excited when I saw one of the dogs yesterday, it gave me great comfort.

For more information on supporting CAMH Pet Therapy through Gifts of Light, visit: http://bit.ly/2zMhYjK

About the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research centres in its field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.

For more information, please follow @CAMHnews and @CAMHResearch on Twitter.

About Nestlé Purina PetCare CanadaNestlé Purina PetCare Canada is a leading pet care company and global manufacturer of quality pet brands, including: Pro Plan, Purina ONE, Friskies, and Tidy Cats. Nestlé Purina PetCare Canada promotes responsible pet care, humane education, community involvement, and the positive bond between people and their pets. Our promise, "Your Pet, Our Passion" reflects our commitment to pets. For information about Nestlé Purina PetCare Canada visit www.purina.ca.

SOURCE Nestle Purina PetCare



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