CFAES Give Today
Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension


PetPALS Benefits

Benefits of becoming a 4-H PetPAL and of Visiting Senior Adults

Pets provide socializing effects and help “break the ice” as the youth introduces him or her to a resident.

  • Increase social interaction
  • Improve psychosocial function
  • Increase social competence
  • Improve psychological well-being

4-H PetPALS visits facilitate healthy activities

  • Improve mental function
  • Increase exercise
  • Reduce stress
  • Seen as a “significant other”
  • Reduce level of depression
  • Touch or pet animal
  • Groom animal
  • Youth identify with and understand the feelings of senior adults because of youth’s bond with their pets
  • Youth and pets give residents something to look forward to
  • Pets encourage laughter and enjoyment
  • Residents talk with youth and watch and talk to pets, rather than focusing on themselves and problems
  • Pets confer a role or identity on a person
  • 4-H PetPALS visits are a source of tactile contact
  • Empathy
  • Improve life satisfaction
  • Entertainment
  • Provide an outward focus

Pets bring out compassion in those who may not be as compassionate toward humans.  Many times an instant friendship is established between the resident and pet, which carries over to the 4-H member who is visiting with his or her pet.