This Adorable Cow Is Changing How Animal Therapy Looks for Assisted Living and Memory Care Patients
You've heard of therapy dogs—but what about a therapy cow? Dolly Star is an adorable calf who is using her gentle, loving nature to bring joy to people living in assisted living memory care facilities.
Dolly's human Karin Boyle tells Daily Paws that the sweet little cow's superpower is her incredible love for people, especially seniors.
Boyle adopted Dolly the calf after Boyle's father was moved into a memory care facility and Boyle saw the need for a different approach to animal therapy. Boyle tells DailyPaws that her father had been a dairy farmer for 65 years, and she wanted to find something special to bring him comfort and to spark happy memories. She struggled to find a resource for him, since his life—and memories—had such deep roots in agriculture.
"I just thought, what can I do for my dad to bring back a little bit of what we were used to into the assisted living facility," Boyle says.
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After seeing the positive impact Dolly had on her father, Boyle decided to start taking the calf to visit other assisted living residents, in areas where many people live (and/or work) on farms. She hopes to expand and bring Dolly to more assisted living facilities and hospitals.
"It's really inspiring to go to these facilities and get to hear the stories about how a cow in their life impacted them, and now they're having all these memories because they saw this little cow that came for a visit," Boyle says.
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When they're not providing animal therapy together, Boyle and Dolly live together like most pet-parent combos—but, unlike many pets, cows require a lot of food and daily yard cleaning, says Doyle. But, the extra care and time Dolly needs is worth it, she adds.
"Dolly and I are better together because she's the missing part of what it is that I need to be complete," Boyle says. "She is my new mission in life. We are out to spread kindness and help those with memory care and hospital needs."