Animal Farm Foundation of Bengall, Dutchess County, has launched Pets Together, a free virtual program allowing the socially isolated to enjoy friendly interaction with pets and people. Its goal is to increase social connection and mitigate the loneliness that is a painful aspect of the pandemic.
AFF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing dogs and people together to end discrimination. Using live video-conferencing platforms (Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts), the AFF team schedules real-time visits where people can watch the animals and participate in conversations with those who care for them. It greatly expands access to pet visits that have traditionally been reserved for face-to-face interactions for people living in group settings, such as nursing homes and hospitals, through therapy animal programs. The video chats are also available to doctors, nurses and other health professionals on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis.
Kim Wolf, Master of Public Health and Master of Social Work Candidate at the University of Georgia, worked with AFF to create the Pets Together Program.
“Pets bring us comfort during times of distress,” she said, “but not everyone is in a position to have one. I can’t imagine going through this pandemic without my pets, so I wanted to share them with others. Pets Together is a model that brings joy and comfort to those who are feeling socially isolated and lonely. We are all in this together, even the pets!”
For more information or to learn how to participate, visit petstogether.org.