The Health Section

Aetna expands pet therapy program nationwide

Aetna will expand its partnership with Pet Partners, bringing therapy animal teams to visit with employees at locations across the United States to help reduce stress and improve employee health and well-being.

“It is fitting that as leaders in our respective fields we’re working together,” said Annie Peters, president and CEO of Pet Partners. “Organized therapy animal visits can be a unique component of a comprehensive employee wellness and benefits program, and the initial response from Aetna employees participating in these visits has been tremendous.”

In the fall of 2016, Aetna launched a Pet Therapy pilot program in partnership with Pet Partners, the nation’s largest nonprofit in promoting animal-assisted therapy, activities and education. The pilot was held at eight locations: Walnut Creek, California; Hartford, Connecticut; Downers Grove, Illinois; Omaha, Nebraska; Portland, Oregon; Cranberry, Pennsylvania; Moon Township, Pennsylvania; and San Antonio, Texas.

An Aetna employee meets with a therapy dog during a Pet Therapy program in Hartford, Connecticut. | Eric Vo

With the expansion, the Pet Therapy program will be brought to three locations in Phoenix, Arizona; West Sacramento, California; Plantation, Florida; Sunrise, Florida; Kansas City, Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; New Albany, Ohio; Blue Bell, Pennsylvania; Arlington, Texas; Houston, Texas; and Richmond, Virginia.

An Aetna employee meets with a therapy dog during a Pet Therapy program in Hartford, Connecticut. | Eric Vo

“Aetna shares Pet Partners’ belief that animals and humans share such a special connection We are so honored to join Pet Partners as they recognize the exceptional therapy animals who partner with their human companions to bring comfort and healing to those in need,” says Kay Mooney, vice president and head of Employee Benefits for Aetna. “We have seen firsthand how therapy animals truly improve lives and lower stress.”

Of the employees who participated in the pilot, 99 percent said they felt their mood had improved, including 45 percent who stated their mood significantly improved. Ninety-nine percent of employees also felt more productive, including 55 percent who felt the therapy pets made them significantly more productive.

Aetna also served as the official sponsor of National Therapy Animal Day on April 30. It will also be the sponsor of the upcoming Pet Partners 2017 conference, “Professionalizing the Passion,” to be held in Bellevue, Washington, in September 2017.

Aetna Media Contact
Ethan Slavin