About Pets Together

Virtually Bringing People and Pets Together
to reduce social isolation and loneliness

About Social Isolation

Social isolation and loneliness affect people who have few social contacts and lack an overall sense of belonging. It disproportionately affects older adults, who are often marginalized in our society. Research shows that they can result in a premature mortality risk comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes per day and even surpassing the influence of obesity and physical activity.

Who’s it for?

Pets Together virtual pet visits are currently available to those living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, residential treatment programs (e.g., behavioral health, rehabilitation), inpatient/outpatient medical centers (e.g., hospitals, cancer centers), and other group settings. Our pets are also happy to visit with medical professionals and others on the front lines of the pandemic.

More About Us

This is a time when we all want to help others but stay-at-home orders make that difficult. We’re changing that. Traditionally, pet visits in group settings are reserved for therapy dog programs with strict regulations. We’re regular folks who just want to do something good for their fellow humans. Since our visits are virtual, we decided to bring the whole farm! In addition to dogs and cat, our pets also include horses, donkeys, goats, and chickens!

Pets Together is an Animal Farm Foundation (AFF) program. AFF is a national non-profit located in the Hudson Valley of New York.

Our advocacy work is traditionally done out in the community as we make connections with people through animals, particularly dogs. But, due to the coronavirus pandemic, our traditional advocacy work is on hold.

We looked around the Farm and realized that we could still make those connections and we could do it with more than just dogs.

From that came the idea for Pets Together. We hope that the program will endure even after this time of social distancing is over. Feelings of isolation and loneliness existed before Covid-19 and will still exist after. We’ll always be here to help.

Jennifer Bashford

Pets Together Coordinator

Jennifer Bashford lives in the North Carolina mountains with her 5 special needs rescue dogs and her husband. She holds master’s degrees in both strategic communications and gerontology and has been involved in animal rescue for over ten years. Working with Pets Together is the perfect blend of all of her passions. When she isn’t on a Zoom call with a long term care facility, you can usually find her hiking or kayaking with one of her dogs.