Virtual Adoptions

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Experience the joy of pet companionship without having to scoop poop, clean up hairballs, or use a lint roller to remove hair!

Virtual Adoption provides the stress reduction benefits of pet ownership without all the work!

According to the Pew Research Center (2018), “About a quarter of U.S. adults say they are ‘almost constantly’ online.” Because so many are active in virtual environments, offering virtual pet adoption meets people where they are.

The Science

Reality vs. virtual

Studies have shown that the brain does not distinguish between real and non real. Hamilton (2014) discusses a study of three groups of people. Researchers had one group  play the piano, a second group imagine they were playing the piano, and a third group do nothing. At the conclusion of the study, brain scans were reviewed which showed no difference between those who actually played the piano and those who imagined playing the piano. Hamilton states, “Really, your brain doesn’t distinguish real from imaginary!”

There have been vast numbers of studies conducted over the years on the benefits of animal assisted therapy for reducing stress and anxiety including Cortes, 2018; Delgado et al, 2017; Krause-Parello et al, 2018; Ward-Griffen et al, 2018; West, 2018; and Williams et al, 2018.

In Effects of Animal-Assisted Therapy on Self-Perceived and Physiological Stress, West (2018), compared the impacts of interacting with a dog and watching a video of a dog and concluded, “Exposure to dogs, even through the means of a video reduces the self-perceived stress levels of the participants ” (p. 44).

Our Virtual Adoption program utilizes these concepts to provide stress reducing tools for living life well.

In addition to reducing stress, videos of pets doing funny things can promote laughter which has been linked to stress reduction, joy, hope and increased fulfillment (Demir, 2015; Fateme et al, 2017; Ghodsbin et al, 2014; Kim et al, 2018; Puckett, n.d.; and Strean, 2009) to cite a few authors.

So how does Virtual Adoption work?

You browse our sanctuary residents page and select the pet(s) you are most drawn to. Then support your pet through an online donation. As a virtual pet owner, you receive photos and videos of your pet in the sanctuary environment. By watching your pet in a calming, sanctuary environment you will be engaging in a stress reduction and serenity producing activity.  See below for an example video!

Next step, check out our sanctuary residents!

abandoned adorable animal cat
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