Viola Students Secure G.O.A.T. Status in Ash Flat

It’s always a treat to have visitors, especially high school students, who bring the welcome energy of grandchildren and remind our Ash Flat elders of their own teen years. Mid-April brought some very special guests from Viola, a short 30-minute car ride west of us.

On Monday, April 15th, National Beta Club students from Viola High School arrived with a baby goat in tow! The tiny goat with a white body and black head and ears sported a “Made in the USA” t-shirt and a Mickey Mouse bandana. It was the cutest thing on four legs, and the elders had a ball playing and cuddling with their new furry friend.

Animals bring such joy to us all, and they are especially good for seniors. While our most familiar furry friends take the shape of a dog or cat, other animals, like our friendly goat guest, can also bring tremendous joy. Petting and playing with animals suppresses feelings of loneliness and anxiety, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and increases levels of oxytocin, the “feel-good” hormone associated with reduced stress and an improved sense of well-being.

Animals are starting to enjoy a more prominent place in therapy, too. Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) and Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) are two ways seniors are interacting with animals in a therapeutically intentional and rehabilitative way.

These awesome students from our neighboring town of Viola, Arkansas, brought us a goat, but we think THEY are the real G.O.A.T. (a.k.a. Greatest Of All Time) for being such a kind and thoughtful group. We enjoyed every moment of this fun afternoon, and we can’t wait for our young friends (and kid) to come see us again!

Founded in Landrum, South Carolina, in 1934, National Beta Club is the largest, independent, educational youth organization in America. With support and guidance from their four pillars: Academic Achievement, Character, Leadership, and Service, members engage in activities that enrich their own lives and allow them to positively impact their schools and communities across the world. Membership is open to students in grades 4-12, and generous scholarships are awarded every year to its high school seniors.

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