Valentine’s Day: Love Right Meow!
Love was in the air this week at Komodo Health when our People Programs and Experience Team offered pet therapy experiences to dragons in our San Francisco and New York offices.
The furry love-fest is just one component of Komodo Health’s commitment to wellness. Throughout the year, the team plans activities that emphasize connection with each other, our communities — and, this week, our four-legged friends.
“When we discussed what to do around Valentine’s Day, I wanted to plan an activity that brought the feeling of being loved, but moved away from the emphasis on romantic love. What better way than bringing the love and affection of animals to the team?” says Lauren Smith, Experience Manager in our San Francisco office. “We opted for a small group activity in a relaxing environment that would give our dragons a way to unwind together in a restorative way, bringing together team building and individual wellness.”
Dragons from our San Francisco office took a field trip to the KitTea Cat Cafe, where they sipped heirloom Japanese teas, practiced yoga, and canoodled with the highly social (and adorably adoptable) resident rescue kitties. The cafe’s goal of easing human stress while facilitating cat adoptions benefits every being with a beating heart in the building.
While we practiced “downward dog” in SF, our New York team was busy asking: Who let the dogs… in? New York Therapy Animals is a nonprofit that brings animal therapy teams to healthcare facilities, schools and libraries. Four sweet dogs met with more than 30 staff members. “I really just loved seeing everyone take a break from their work to have some downtime with dogs,” says Audrey Jensen, Experience Manager in our New York office. “Nothing is better than seeing everyone’s faces light up when walking into the conference room and seeing four cute dogs to play with!”
Why blend animals with the workplace? According to research by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), the “Pet Effect” is real. The potential benefits of bonding with dogs and cats include reduced blood pressure and stress levels, lowered heart disease, alleviated allergies in children, decreased anxiety and depression – even strengthened immune systems.
Improved physical health isn’t the only benefit. The director of Cultivate Care Farms in Bolton, MA, Megan Moran (LMHC), sees additional perks. “Animals create opportunities for learning and insight,” says Moran. “Through interaction, people find strengths they didn’t know they had in themselves.” She applauds Komodo’s idea of mingling animals with staff. “It’s wonderful. Animals allow people to become more naturally themselves. Animals make us all more human. When we are more ourselves, we look for ways that we can work together to solve problems. Animals open us all up to a more real conversation.”
The week of love underscored our continued commitment to wellness. “Here at Komodo Health we take our mission – to reduce the global burden of disease – as seriously for our dragons as we do the patients impacted by our customers and patient advocacy partners,” says Alice Llano, Lead People Programs Manager in our San Francisco office. “It is well-known (and scientifically proven) that interaction with a gentle, friendly pet has significant physical and mental health benefits.”
So no matter how you celebrate (or don’t) on Valentine’s Day, remember: bonding with a furry friend will not only ease stress and make you smile, it’ll do your heart some good!