Over the past few months, I have seen articles floating around about Hasbro’s robotic dog and cats. Initially, I didn’t think much of it because when I saw the pictures of the toys, I assumed they were just that, children’s toys. When I took the time to delve in and read the article, I was pleasantly surprised at what I read. (goes to show, don’t judge a book by its cover or a report by its picture!) What I learned was that Hasbro had started a new campaign called “Joy For All Companion Pets.”
The idea behind these toys was to bring joy and companionship to seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. These ‘pets’ offer the owner all the benefits that come with a live cat or dog, but do not have any physical needs that require the owner to feed or walk them. They merely exist to provide love and, as the slogan goes, joy for all!
The cats come in three different coat colours (orange tabby, creamy white and silver). The cats are interactive and will respond to touch and some movements. When you gently pet the cats behind their head and on their back, they will purr. If you pet their left cheek, they will turn their head into your hand to ask for more pets. If you pet them enough times they will roll over so you can rub their bellies. Sometimes they will close their eyes and take a nap. If left alone long enough, they will just go to sleep until someone begins to interact with them again.
The dogs only come in one colour but still interact in much the same way as the cats do. There are a few small differences in the dog interactions. If you gently pet them on their backs, you will be able to feel their heartbeat. And if you speak to them they will bark back at you. If you don’t interact with them for a period, they will go back to sleep until you pat them on the head or walk by.
The response to these new pets has been fantastic! A letter of recommendation was written by a journalist for the New York Times in regards to the cat version. It makes for a fun read but at the end, it just goes to show how much of a difference these odd little robotic pets can make in someone’s life. He writes about his own experience and how he watched it change his grandmother’s life, I highly recommend giving it a read and looking into it. And for some last words of wisdom, look no further than Hasbro’s website where they sum everything up perfectly with, “Why should kids have all the fun?”
To learn more check out this link.
Written by Kelsey Hewgill, RVT