TYLER, Texas — Once a month at the Alzheimer's Alliance of Smith County day club, clients get a dose of extra kindness to brighten their day - some puppy love.
On Tuesday, adoptable puppies from the SPCA of East Texas visited the day club members during their time of fellowship, creativity, food and laughter for a furry surprise and licks of love.
Alice French, of the Alzheimer's Alliance of Smith County, said the nonprofit group hosts the day club every Tuesday, naming the meeting Terrific Tuesday, for four hours of fun.
Rhonda Bossart, with the SPCA of East Texas, said the partnership with the Alzheimer's Alliance began a few years ago and noted that pets can help with anxiety, depression and loneliness.
"They always love it! It is special, extra special when they do come," French said.
Sarah Bryan, also with the local SPCA, added the puppies bring the day club participants a lot of joy and it allows them to reminisce about experiences with their own dogs.
"Who doesn’t like to hold a puppy, right? When the SPCA brings the pets, the participants feel needed and they get to express their love at a different level," French said, adding the partnership is a win-win for everyone involved.
Bossart said the puppies helping comfort the Alzheimer's and dementia patients is a prime example of how animals and pets can help with mental health issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as anxiety, loneliness and isolation.
"When you have dementia those things are exasperated so a pet can really help in that situation," Bossart said. "The day club is just great. We are just something that adds to that."
All of the puppies who visited Tuesday’s event are up for adoption along with nearly 100 more at the SPCA of East Texas.
The Terrific Tuesday day club will soon start meeting on Thursdays as well. Those interested in learning more about the day club can contact the Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County.