VA Pet Therapy Program receives two new cats - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

VA Pet Therapy Program receives two new cats

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SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane VA Medical Center welcomed two new feline residents to its Community Living Center and Hospice last week. 

The cats, Simon and Alvin, are part of a new Pet Therapy program to help Veterans coping with pain or involved with rehabilitation.

"The staff and patients at the Community Living Center are very excited to see the new kitten residents. We hope that this new program will bring our Veterans a sense of companionship and help them on their road to recovery," said Sharon Helman, Medical Center Director.  

Simon, a Ragdoll, and Alvin, a Siamese, were donated by a local Spokane family.  Simon and Alvin are both three years old and will be permanent residents at the Spokane VA Medical Center's Community Living Center and Hospice, where they will interact with Veteran residents and help facilitate the physical health and mental well-being of patients.  Like other residents, the cats will be free to roam the Community Living Center as they please. 

Pets must meet specific criteria in order to be eligible for the VA Pet Therapy program.  All pets must be spayed or neutered and have all their vaccines up-to-date.  Pets must also have a good temperament, respond to commands and enjoy being held and petted.

Simon and Alvin will be permanent pet residents.  Other VA Medical Centers across the country have similar programs; however, Spokane is setting the bar with live-in cats for residents, whereas most facilities have pets who visit Veterans on a weekly or monthly basis. 

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