The American Red Cross’ Service to the Armed Forces program has recently coordinated with the 127th Airwing at the Selfridge Air National Guard Base to offer animal visits during drill weekends through our Animal Visitation Program. Volunteers bring their trained therapy dogs to the Family Readiness Office at Selfridge from 10am – 2pm one Saturday a month for all of the Guardsmen to engage and play with. The program started in September 2019 and has successfully continued through October, November, and December.
There are currently six trained therapy dogs that participate in visitation weekends at Selfridge, Cody (Golden Retriever), Jada (Rottweiler), Maxi (Rottweiler), Amos (Labrador Retriever), Ozzy (Mini Golden-Doodle) and Henry (Bernese Mountain Dog). The dogs are accompanied by their certified handler and owner but are free to play and engage with the participants as they choose throughout the Family Readiness office space.
Visits from the Red Cross Animal Visitation Program dogs help to provide a change from routine and helps with the relief of stress or anxiety that members maybe feeling. Spending time with trained therapy dogs can boost relaxation, morale, and mental health according to medical studies, but the visits are also an exciting new event for everyone to participate in.
Here are a few memories from our Selfridge visits this fall as we gear up and look forward to the upcoming visitation days ahead!