TO TASHA, A WORKING THERAPY DOG
Paws of Canada
(Give the show below a few seconds to load) Thanks
you considering this with your precious dog?
Do you want to know where to begin?
does the whole Therapy dog system works?
It really is
not hard. It takes commitment, a love for doing volunteer
work, a well behaved social dog and a little research on your
Don't think your dog is too playful! Playfullness is a great
attribute. The seniors love a playful dog :)
is of my Nikki, the golden retriever, and her friend, Molly,
the golden lab.
First: The commitment
You will need to commit to whatever avenue of Dog Therapy you
choose. You will need to find your own niche in this work.
And once you do find it you need to commit to it. You
see, wherever you do dog therapy volunteering, those people
wait for your dog. They know that your dog will come at
certain times/days and they wait in anticipation. Don't
let them down. It is a high point of their day for many
of those you visit. You must do it on a regular basis.
is hospital visiting; paliative care visiting; children hospital
visiting; senior homes visiting. Many of these avenues have
different requirements for you and your dog. Find out where
your heart, your dog and your time will fit in best, and then...
Do research. Visiting the elderly is the easiest with little
required except an obedient (not like in obedience training) dog.
will need a love for volunteering. And, depending on the
venue you choose, certain charecter traits. For instance,
I could never work in palliative care, it would bother me too
much. Yet, my mentor and her dog did this for years.
That's where I met my mentor and started my volunteering.
Need A Well Behaved Dog
dog does NOT need to be "obedience trained" as such. But,
you need an obedient dog that you can handle. Your dog needs
to be friendly. Don't force a breed or dog to do this work
if the dog does NOT like to be social. Your dog needs to
be calm, relaxed and not be afraid of sound and movement.
Pet Owner Guide is intended for individuals and families
interested in becoming a pet owner, either through adoption or
from a breeder. It includes chapters on cost of owning a pet,
from typical everyday cost to emergency medical care.
research of different groups available in your area, or even your
state or province. Check out a few and then go with the
one that suits you and your pet. Again, different groups have
different requirements. Most organizations also require a "police
homes are happy to have any well-behaved dogs visit, most do require certification
from any organization. Hospitals are very difficult to go
into, and have their own requirements.
is not only good for you, because the organizations will also
insure you and your pet, but also, because the nursing homes
realize that the certifying organization has accepted you, and
that they have done a "police check".
two main therapy organizations are: TDI and Delta Society, but
depending on where you live there may be other, local groups.
TDI just tests(basically the Canine Good Citizen test with some
additions to see how thedog reacts to things that it might come
across in a health care setting).
Delta Society's Pet Partner program is a training program that
you take to prepare you and your dog before you get tested.
Nikki Belongs To:
Paws of Canada (posted
My dog and I like to walk and roam,
But the best place to go is a
Their eyes light up when I say
"I have brought my dog to visit today".
Talking and petting all the while,
Makes me feel good when they start to smile.
My dog gets hugs and attention galore,
But also provides so much more.
Putting smiles on faces when there was none,
Now I know our job is done.
By: Leona Stratford, Team Leader Brantford
by diane, www.spokesdog.com
have been certified as a pet partner team through the Delta
Society and visit retirement
centers, convalescent facilities and hospitals.
been one of the most rewarding
adventures I have ever volunteered to do.
Meaningful Activity for You & Your Animal Companion.
Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach™
Whether “you” means you-on-your-own, you and your partner, you
and your friend, or you and the kids, the increasing understanding
of the healing power of dogs (and other animal
companions) offers a unique opportunity for an enriching activity.
While I’ll use dogs here, other animal companions have participated
in these Visiting and Therapy Programs, such as cats, guinea pigs,
birds and rabbits.
Known by various terms, taking your animal companion to a hospial,
prison, nursing home, children’s shelter, oncology or pediatric
ward can be a rewarding experience for everyone.
It gives you and your loved ones a bonding and learning experience,
gives your people-loving dog an adventure, and brings great joy
and comfort to the people visited.
Visiting a nursing home means giving the residents something to
look forward to, and it’s easy to make friends around a dog. There’s
a natural topic of conversation as the dog is busy doing its thing.
Whereas simply visiting a rehab center or children’s shelter might
be a bit awkward, bring your animal companion and everyone feels
at home right away.
It’s a relief from boring routines to the residents, and a distraction
from pain, illness, depression, and homesickness. Caregivers report
that residents become more active when a dog comes visiting, and
talk about it long afterward. It’s a big event to them, and only
requires time from you.
A dog can sometimes reach someone who’s withdrawn from the world,
as letters to pet therapy sites attest. They also have been shown
to reduce the blood pressure of people in many different circumstances
(apparently always) - healthy college students, a child reading
a book alone in a room, and hospitalized elderly. Touching and
massaging have been shown to help both the recipient and the giver,
as does petting an animal.
Sounds like a wonderful idea doesn’t it, for a winter Sunday afternoon?
So how do you proceed?
1.Consider your dog’s personality.
You already have a good idea how your dog interacts with other
animals and people. Good visiting dogs enjoy meeting strangers,
actively approaching but in a calm, friendly manner. A fearful
or aggressive dog is not a good candidate. An overly enthusiastic
greeter can be trained.
2.Consider your dog’s reactions.
He must be able to tolerate strange people, noises and surroundings,
commotions, and also the other animals that might be visiting
as well. He must be able to calm quickly and reliably.
3.Choose the right venue to suit your dog’s personality.
A convalescent home, the children’s playground at a shelter, a
prison, and a psychiatric ward all require slightly different
tolerances from the dog. One dog may be sad at the lack of contact
in a convalescent home, while another might be over-stimulated
by a group of active children.
4.Start with good obedience training.
Check with your vet or in the yellow pages for training opportunities
in your community.
5.Condition your dog to stimulating new environments, building
her trust and confidence in you. (If you’re taking her there,
6. Read some books on the subject. There’s a list here:
7.Join an organization that can help you learn and also direct
you to opportunities.
The Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dogs, Inc., Therapy Dogs International,
, and Delta Society, http://deltasociety.org
8.Obtain a Canine Good Citizenship Certificate, awarded under
guidelines by the American Kennel Club ( AKC).
It involves basic good behavior, following some commands, being
able to stay alone briefly, not whine or bark, good grooming,
and other things.
be afraid to set this up on an informal basis, from simply going
to visit a home-bound neighbor, to calling the volunteer director
at the local children’s shelter and asking if you can come by.
A good volunteer director is adept at working in various volunteer
opportunities, and also always looking for enriching, fun and/or
educational activities for clients.
Your visitation may be highly structured or not, involve one-on-one
or group, you may visit residents’ rooms or meet in the meeting
room, and yours may be the only animal there or one of many.
You can see the various possibilities this can provide for a meaningful
family or individual experience. There are both intellectual and
emotional learning opportunities. With the right animal companion,
you’re on your way and someone’s going to be very happy to see
About the author:
©Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc
. I offer coaching, distance learning programs, and ebooks around
emotional intelligence for your personal and professional development.
I train and certify EQ coaches. Get into this field, dubbed “white
hot” by the press, now. No residency requirement. Start immediately
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