'Pig therapy' cheers up seniors at assisted living facility

Posted at 6:16 PM, Feb 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-13 14:47:13-05

Blue, a pot bellied pig, is hard at work.

Her job is cheering up seniors at a South Florida assisted living facility.

Pamela Collins is the Lifestyle Director for the Nu Vista Living Facility in Palm Beach Gardens. She says a visit from Blue helps her residents, "To get out of their element. They are not thinking about their pain anymore. They are not thinking about their depression anymore."

Blue's owner, Jahaira Zamora, says it all started when, "A friend of ours, her pig had babies, and we saw them and immediately fell in love with Blue."

Zamora noticed something different about Blue the pig. "She's always been sweet and obedient. She reads emotion so well. If I'm ever sad or having a bad day, she can sense it," she says.

According to the National Center For Health Research, pet therapy can help improve a person's mood.

Collins said,  "I think it gives them a little bit of hope." Blue's owner told us, "Everyone is excited to see her. All I see are smiles. Everyone says we just made their day."

Collins added,  "The fact that they can look forward to seeing an animal if you are an animal lover, even the touch of the fur. Even the way the pig or the dog looks at them. These animals sense something is going on with these people they want to approach them and eager for them to pet them."