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Mars senior center hosts furry, relaxing experience

August 20, 2019 Digital Media Exclusive

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Carol Steffler, 87, pets a cat held by Butler County Humane Society volunteer Linda Ow.

MARS — Nancy Shattuck scratched the soft, white fur on Latte's belly until the 4-month-old domestic shorthair mix cat began to purr.

“I love them. I want to take them all home,” said Shattuck, a Mars resident, laughing. “They are so cuddly, fuzzy and cute, and they all have personalities, each one is different.”

As the animals were pulled from their crates, ohs and ahs filled the Mars Senior Center, 2 Gilkey Drive, from about 15 attendees who participated in pet therapy recently with the Butler County Humane Society.

Pet therapy is usually offered in a range of settings, including retirement living, community care, residential aged care homes, hospices, rehabilitation centers and in a senior's own home, according to Caring People Inc. Pet therapy for depression and other ailments that seniors suffer from has been linked to lower blood pressure, less frequent visits to the doctor, and a tendency to live in the now instead of contemplating the future.

Every few months when the society and its animals visit the Mars Senior Center, Shattuck always makes sure to attend. Last month, the society brought five kittens, she said.

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