You can cuddle with cute puppies at this health retreat
Sunrise Springs, Santa Fe's only destination spa, is all about wellness and nurturing, so it's no wonder they came up with something as innovative and appealing as the Puppy Program.
It's a scientific fact that just petting a dog helps reduce stress. The interaction alone can increase levels of oxytocin (a good hormone known as the "love drug") and decrease the production of cortisol (a bad hormone which activates the stress-response system).
The program began when the owners of Sunrise Springs approached Assistance Dogs of the West (ADW) founder Jill Felice and CEO Linda Milanesi about a partnership. It became apparent that this would be a win-win for both the humans and the puppies.
The dogs' time at Sunrise Springs helps provide much-needed socialization. Each day, guests interact with the puppies in classes. The pure joy on guests' faces shows why this is the resort's most popular program.
"Cuddling puppies provides therapeutic benefits such as lower heart rate and lower blood pressure," said Linda Milanesi. "People, in their everyday lives, rarely get to snuggle with a litter of puppies. It's novel and it's just plain fun."
Whereas a typical day for guests involves stimulating activities and plenty of time for relaxation and pampering, the same holds true for the puppies.
Their day starts with early morning feedings. After eating, the dogs have playtime in the yard with enrichment items, followed by morning classes with guests, supervised by ADW professionals.
When they're old enough, they go for walks on the property and learn tasks that they'll use in their service work. After dinner, they again have class time with guests, and then it's time to sleep.
Despite blissful and indulgent days filled with spa treatments, open-air soaks in a private pool, art classes and the freshest food, the puppy program is the highlight of any human's stay at the resort.