If you’re looking for a getaway that has the best type of spa treatment you can imagine, look no further than Sunrise Springs in Santa Fe, New Mexico–where you can pamper yourself with all the canine cuddling you want!
Let’s be honest…anytime we can get away from it all and relax–whether with massages or golf or yoga and healthy eating–it’s a nice time and most likely stress reducing.
But there’s one place that offers resort spa amenities, but with a twist–they also offer canine cuddling. Yes, canine cuddling. Science already has told us that dog petting reduces stress. We produce oxytocin (a feel-good hormone) and our cortisol (the stress hormone) slows down. There’s a reason why people love petting dogs.
Sunrise Springs is the only destination spa in Santa Fe, but it’s not the nurturing and holistic wellness focus that brings people in. Well, it does, but so does their Puppy Program and it’s no surprise why.
Sunrise Springs partnered with Assistance Dogs of the West (ADW) and created a program that was both important for the interaction of the puppies and the relaxation and enjoyment of the humans staying at Sunrise Springs.
Linda Milanesi is the CEO of Assistance Dogs of the West and says that there is a huge time and engagement commitment that goes into successfully training a working dog. Each dog they train for various venues gets anywhere from 18 to 24 months of training and is socialized to be effective in many different environments with over 90 learned cues.
When the puppies spend time at Sunrise Springs, they are given unique opportunities to interact with people of various walks of life and the socialization is invaluable Every day, approximately 20 guests get to play with puppies in their Puppy Preschool and other similar classes. The resort guests love it and the Puppy Program is their most popular one.
Milanesi said that cuddling the puppies give the benefits of therapy that come with lower heart rates and blood pressures. And who doesn’t love just snuggling with a litter of puppies?
Guests wait excitedly for their classes each day outside the Puppy Enrichment Center and as soon as residents enter, you can immediately see bravados drop and people letting the puppies crawl and love all over them. Talk about puppy paradise!
During canine interactions, guests learn basic handling techniques, practice activities with the dogs, take walks, or simply find a peaceful place to cuddle. Benefits of animal interactions:• Increases self-awareness and self-esteem• Increases cardiovascular health• Reduces physical, mental and emotional stress• Improves adjustment to bereavement• Develops leadership, communication, and relationship-building skills
Posted by Sunrise Springs Spa Resort on Tuesday, September 22, 2015
While guests still engage in relaxation classes of yoga and healthy eating, they know they’re on the property with little furballs as they hear them clamor for breakfast and get all excited for playtime. The litters of puppies rotate through, as ADW is always training new groups.
Mara Bouvier is the General Manager of Sunrise Springs and says that guests don’t just value the program because the puppies are cute. She says that guests know the puppies are being trained to do important jobs and the guests love being part of that in a way that also brings them fun and adorable relaxation. Guests rave about the spa-treatments, art classes, fresh food and more amenities the resort offers, but…it’s the puppy experience that brings them back again and again.
And who can blame them? Tickets for Santa Fe, anyone?
Lori Ennis is a wife, mama and friend to all animals. A self-confessed “Hot Mess,” she lives wherever the Marine Corps takes her husband. Currently, that’s Maryland with her very spoiled Labrador Retriever-mix rescue pups and a ton of saltwater fish just tanking around. Lori’s family has fostered dogs for years, mostly Golden Retrievers, and knows no home is complete without an animal buddy (or seven)!