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Gull Creek on Delmarva Life

A recent TV appearance by a very special golden retriever has reinforced the many benefits that pets offer seniors.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, pets can help decrease blood pressure along with levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. In addition, pets encourage seniors to spend time outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine, and they boost opportunities for needed socializing with others.

Gull Creek’s Furry Ambassador

No one knows the benefits of spending time with pets better than the residents here at Gull Creek, where the beloved golden retriever Trip comes to work every day with her owner, Mari Bohall, our director of business development.

During a recent appearance on “Delmarva Life,” Mari told the hosts that 9-year-old Trip began coming to work with Mari and “found her calling in life.”

“Trip comes to Gull Creek with me every day, and her job there is to make everyone feel good,” Mari said, adding that the sweet-natured dog has free rein of the building and loves people of every age.

Significant Benefits for Residents

Mari said she sees incredible benefits for residents who interact with Trip at Gull Creek.

“It just changes their whole demeanor,” Mari said. “They are so in love, they are so taken with her, people that keep to themselves now come out of their apartments just to interact with Trip.”

She said some residents will sit in the community’s lobby area for hours just to be near Trip. If a resident is having a bad day, Mari will often take Trip for a visit. The intuitive dog instinctively reacts to her location and the people around her, Mari said.

If Trip visits with dementia patients, for example, “she won’t go up to anyone if she isn’t given permission.”

“If someone is having a bad day, if they’re receptive to (Trip), it can turn them right around, because they will now be focused on Trip, not focused on what they were having anxiety about.”

Mari added that Gull Creek’s oldest resident, 105-year-old Edna, visits her office often to see Trip. She said the dog is very gentle with Edna and takes care not to get in her way as she walks.

Multiple Health Advantages for Seniors

Mari’s experience with Trip at Gull Creek closely mirrors research findings and expert opinions on the health benefits pets provide to seniors. In addition to clear advantages for physical health — including lowering blood pressure and regulating breathing — mental health also improves when seniors spend time with pets.

Dogs, cats and other beloved pets can help reduce depression and feelings of loneliness in seniors. And pets provide additional, intangible benefits, such as living in the present moment — which can help relieve an older adult’s anxiety about the future.

Mari says Trip also provides bonding and affection for the residents at Gull Creek. The residents appreciate Trip’s presence so much that the resident council voted in 2013 to recognize the golden retriever as “Her Highness, Princess Trip of Gull Creek.”

To schedule your personal tour of Gull Creek, please contact us today.