Resort's experiential offering: Puppy love

Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

Luxury travel these days is about experiences.

For example, as an animal lover, I can’t think of too many things more fun or relaxing than romping and cuddling with a puppy in the mountains. And this week, a new wellness resort in Santa Fe announced a program that offers just that.

Sunrise Springs Integrative Wellness Resort, a sister resort to northern New Mexico’s Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, says it is partnering with Assistance Dogs of the West to offer puppy enrichment and canine interactions programs where guests learn handling techniques, practice activities with the dogs, take walks or simply find a peaceful place to cuddle.

A growing body of research shows interacting with animals helps increase self-awareness, self-esteem and cardiovascular health while reducing physical, mental and emotional stress. Sunrise Springs says its program is also designed to help guests develop skills such as patience, reinforcement, empathy, clear communication and compassion.

And let’s not forget the benefits for the dogs.

Linda Milanesi, executive director of Assistance Dogs of the West, says the interaction with guests and staff at Sunrise Springs provides the early socialization that is critical to helping pups become confident and competent.

“There are few moments in life that are as poignant and fulfilling as holding a puppy and sharing those unconditional moments of connection and love,” she said.

With the puppy enrichment program, guests can experience the joys of puppyhood and watch them develop. As the dogs mature, the resort will offer the canine interactions program, where guest are shown training techniques that promote trust and connection and teach them how to interact with dogs in a respectful, cooperative and nonpunitive way, the resort said.

Not so crazy about dogs? The resort also offers a program with its Silkie chickens, and it is exploring the possibility of adding an equine program.

By caring for, observing, and interacting with the chickens, the resort says guests “gain insight into their own and others’ behaviors, roles and communication styles.

“The chickens also provide opportunities to slow down, reflect, and practice new skills.”

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