Would you like your dog to help people heal? Find out the basics of dog therapy from this friendly canine who brings joy and helps people heal:
This is from a blog post at Guideposts:
“Hi, I’m Clarisse, aka Pretty Pants, an 8-year-old female rough coat Collie living in Ft. Myers, FL, with my human mom and my doggie brother and sister. A former show dog, I am now following a higher calling as a therapy dog, working with patients recovering from strokes, head trauma, etc., in a rehabilitation hospital. I am one busy girl! The work that is closest to my heart, though, is right here at home with my human mom who is physically handicapped due to a stroke. Together, she and I run the therapy program in our neighborhood. Without me, her work would be so difficult and without her, I’d just be another beautiful dog. We need each other. I have to say, however, that as supervisor to the other therapy dogs, I do a better job, since I’m one of them. There are over 100 working dogs in the area and they all listen to me—except for one cocky little Chinese Crested who walks on his back legs like he is in a circus! But I remain calm and self-confident, ultimately overcoming all silliness. Mom and I call our work, Therapy Dogs, Inc. and our e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.”
I think Clarisse and MaryAnn deserve a big round of ‘apaws’ for giving their hearts and minds to such important work. I found a really lovely video showing how therapy dogs work with their human patients. Please visit their website.
Want to learn more? Try the book Therapy Dogs: Training Your Dog to Reach Others
UPDATE: National Council for Aging Care's guide on Pets for Seniors is now available. Check out this worthy cause.