The comfort of animals

MARSHALL – Residents at Heritage Pointe Senior Living hosted social work students from Southwest Minnesota State University, along with several cats on Wednesday.

“We’re going to do this once a month with whoever is available,” said Rick Robinson, professor of social work and pet therapy project director.

Though some of the cats were the students’ personal cats, most were from Marshall Pet Rescue.

Marshall Pet Rescue takes in unclaimed stray animals held for more than five days at the city of Marshall Impound Center.

“It allows us to get the animals out of the rescue unit for a change,” Robinson said. “We hope to develop a pet therapy program at the university.”

Justine Heinis brought two of her personal rescue cats.

“Sophie was a stray cat in Russell,” Heinis said. “She was all skin and bones when I found her. I found Ella in a field at my grandma’s, so I took her in and fed her.”

The cats appear to be received very well by residents.

“My mom loved cats, so we always had a kitty,” said Delores Holm.

Becca Badgett, community wellness director, said they might bring a dog in and take it from apartment to apartment.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to bring some animals in,” Badgett said. “Some tenants are animal lovers. Animals do great things for anxiety and stress.”