Sign In

Animal Get On Zoom Video Calls

May 12, 2020

 

 

Video calls are bringing families and friends together during the pandemic. Some are also taking people for a walk on the wild side with animal cameos.

Through a non-profit animal sanctuary in Northern California, people across the world have been using Zoom to visit llamas, goats, sheep and cows. Nate Salpeter, a co-founder of Sweet Farm, says demand is so high, they’ve booked more than 600 appointments for their “Goat-2-Meeting” program and more than three thousand cameos across their network of affiliate sanctuaries. Sessions start at a $65 donation for a happy hour appearance and go all the way up to $750 for a VIP virtual private tour.

Clients have mainly been a mix of corporate meetings and small groups of friends, but the animals, including a llama named Paco, have also appeared in Zoom weddings. Salpeter says those calls offset the costs for them to offer the visits for free to public educators and their students.

“It’s a way to break from the norm–the new norm, I should say, and get outside even through a video screen,” Salpeter says. “It’s a very uplifting opportunity for folks.”

The virtual visits can offer much-needed relief. In San Diego, the handler of a certified therapy dog is now offering free sessions to help with stress relief. Judy Fridono was inspired by their work with veterans with PTSD to focus on healthcare workers but says time with Ricochet, a 12-year-old golden retriever, is available for whoever needs it.

“If you hold back your anger, that just ends up festering, so if you can tell Ricochet what you’re angry about, it doesn’t affect anybody,” Fridono says.

Fridono asks people to write a letter to Ricochet beforehand to read out loud.

“[The stress] releases from their brain and their mind when they’re writing a letter, and then when they’re reading the letter, they get the responses from Ricochet, whether it’s in a flickering of the eyes or whatever it is that she does, and it’s validation,” she says. “So it’s just a really healing kind of exercise, and it’s very personal, and it’s between the person and Ricochet.”

Diana Moczygemba spent an hour talking with Ricochet. The San Antonio nurse has been working with critically ill coronavirus patients.

“I feel good having let it out,” she says. “Having had someone to listen without judgment, that was hugely important.”

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Firefighters battling California wildfires visited by Kerith the therapy dog

    Battling wildfires can take an emotional and physical toll on firefighters, but a two-year-old golden retriever has come to rescue, relieving stress and providing comfort to firefighters on the front lines. Kerith is a certified crisis response therapy animal through a nonprofit organization, Pet Partners. Kerith and her handler, Heidi Carman, started volunteering at MarinHealth […]

    Read more

    Big Dogs Need Owners

    When the shutdown orders took full effect, it became nearly impossible to find a small dog available for adoption as Southlanders sought furry companions. In many Southland shelters, only larger breeds remained available for adoption. Now Los Angeles Animal Service is touting the joys of big dogs while offering discounted adoption fees for larger breeds […]

    Read more

    Service Dog Walkathon

    On Saturday, October 3, hundreds of walkers from across 15 states joined the path to bettering the world for children with autism and their families as part of BluePath Service Dogs’ fourth annual walkathon. The family-friendly fundraiser – this year held virtually – raised more than $120,000 to further BluePath’s mission of providing autism service […]

    Read more

    Service Dog In The Marching Band

    In a year that is anything but normal, the Jones College Maroon Typhoon Marching Band has welcomed its first known service dog member this fall. Laurie, a 3-year-old golden retriever, is baritone saxophone player Sara-Beth McKellar’s service dog. The Vicksburg native was diagnosed with epilepsy as a sophomore in high school after her first seizure. […]

    Read more

    Church Blesses Animals

    St. Mary’s Church of the Immaculate Conception in Port Jervis hosted a special outdoor service last Sunday afternoon to bless the community’s pets, animals and other living creatures. In keeping with current pandemic rules, pet owners wore masks, remained distant, and took part in praying for dogs, cats, turtles, and other pets and animals around […]

    Read more

    Police Welcome New Canine

    After the unexpected passing of longtime Police Service Dog Zeus earlier this week, Kingston Police are welcoming a new member to the Canine Unit. Police Service Dog Bask, also known as K9-8, is a Dutch Shepherd and Belgium Malinois mix, and will be patrolling the streets of Kingston with his handler Constable Jeff Dickson. Bask […]

    Read more