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When Heather Klippel, a vivacious 28-year-old with cerebral palsy, and her housemates decided to care for Nena, a foster dog, she was excited yet worried that her wheelchair might prevent her from contributing to the dog’s care. But despite her physical limitations, Klippel quickly found a way to care for Nena at her YAI residence in New City. 
There are several positive effects of animal therapy, including overall mental health improvements. Studies found 74% of people believed they managed stress and anxiety better because of the emotional support and affection their pets provide. 

Group picture of residents and staff from Lady Godiva, a YAI residence, with Nena, their foster dog
Residents and staff pose with Nena, the foster dog.

“Nena is a sweet, gentle dog who is therapeutic for everybody,” said Klippel. “Because I can't do any of the physical doggie care, I have been doing newsletters about her, and I love it.” 

Klippel came up with the idea of the weekly newsletter that gets circulated throughout the home after realizing she enjoyed documenting Nena’s journey and her day-to-day routines with her housemates. KIippel’s love of writing allowed her to become the spokesperson for the residence on all things Nena. 
“She is a great comfort to us when we are sick and brightens us up first thing in the morning,” Klippel said. “Nena is a joy and brings us laughter and healing – a healing that only can come from a dog.”