Helen Woodward Animal Center Pet Encounter Therapy pets provided drive-in delights

Jack greets clients from Alzheimer’s San Diego.

Clients from Alzheimer’s San Diego recently arrived in cars to Helen Woodward Animal Center for a Pet Encounter Therapy Critter Drive-In. The unique visit included seven animal greeters, including two alpacas named Kronk and Kuzco, two horses named Sandy and Jack, one sheep named Tuxedo, one blue-tongue skink named Sebastian, and a dog named Charlie! Smiles, laughter and even sweet thank you notes held up through the windows were clear indications of the incredible joy animals bring, even at a socially safe distance.

Recently, with the COVID pandemic regulations limiting those who enter hospital and wellness centers to essential healthcare workers, therapy animals have had to take a back-seat. But at this event, Pet Encounter Therapy animals greeted clients from Alzheimer’s San Diego sitting in the passenger seats of vehicles while Center staff and volunteers donned masks and provided fun fact sheets outside car windows to safely share information about each fuzzy, fluffy, and scaly friend.

Kronk and Kuzco greet clients from Alzheimer’s San Diego.

Robin Cohen, who has run the Pet Encounter Therapy Program at Helen Woodward Animal Center for over 26 years, was encouraged at how successful the event was for the clients.

“It means so much to us to find a unique way to provide this therapy. We are looking forward to offering this opportunity to the other facilities we used to regularly visit before the pandemic hit.”

For more information on Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Pet Encounter Therapy, contact PET Manager Robin Cohen at (858) 756-4117 x322, or go online at