“Hi, her name is Mom and my name is Bruce. Would you like to pet me?” On my way: prance, prance, prance, tail wag, tail wag, tail wag. Being a Therapy Dog is going to be so much fun.
My Mom and I are a team with an opportunity to be part of something bigger than ourselves, bigger than training in rally, agility, or tricks. As a team, the rewards are different and more permanent. Now, that doesn’t mean that if I ever won a blue ribbon in one of my favorite pursuits, Mom wouldn’t be ecstatic. However, for me, meeting new people is a treat unto itself.
Our class yesterday focused on working with the elderly. Our instructor, Shari Degan at What A Great Dog! is doing everything she can to prepare us to be exemplary teams. She reminded us of the protocols for visits and began explaining more of the rewards and challenges of different environments and circumstances. You wouldn’t think a dog had to be aware of things like the HIPAA law, Alzheimer’s or Dementia, but we do.
When I was a puppy I used to go with Mom to see her Dad while he was living in a skilled nursing center in Frisco. There were days that he was very engaging when we visited and he would be happy to see me, know my name, and ask me to show what I was learning in my early training. Sometimes he just wanted to pet my head or have me lay down next to his wheelchair outside on the patio. There were days however that he didn’t remember that I’d visited before and was upset that dogs were in the house. I continued to go with Mom for a while anyway, not always knowing what our welcome would be. Eventually I stopped going for visits as his dementia worsened. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to meet many other residents and watch “real” therapy dogs in action and see how just a few minutes can lighten the hearts of many.
Therapy Dogs, Inc. has a woofsome prospect member presentation that is engaging, inspiring and very informative if you’d like to learn more about becoming a Therapy Dog.
Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs, Inc. is a non-profit, all volunteer group and on their website you can learn about volunteer opportunities, read testimonials, and while there you must tour the scrapbook to see their album of Summer Fun: dogs and teams in action.
Depending on the mission, the BatDog should obviously not be afraid of a little costume change. In celebration of the dog days of summer, hope you like the picture I shared with you today to salute Therapy Dogs and all they do to share happiness with others. Whatever it takes. (Many thanks to Rover Resort for sharing the photograph from one of our woofsome camp days. Woof!)
Own Your Woof™