Hi all, Finley here!
Happy Spring! I hope you all are having a good one so far…. I sure am. Today, I want to share with you about something that is very special to me and that’s the wonderful gift of therapy dogs. Therapy Dogs are dogs that have been trained to help people feel better. I have some special friends that are therapy dogs and honestly…..sometimes I feel a little jealous because what they do is so cool! There are so many ways therapy dogs can help people feel better.
WAYS THERAPY DOGS CAN HELP
Therapy dogs can help lots of different people. Some of the people that my friends visit are:
- Kids in school—sometimes kids that have a hard time reading will feel more comfortable reading to a dog than they will to a classmate. This helps their reading improve.
- Sick kids in the hospital—kids who are in the hospital for different reasons can feel sad a lot of the time. When a therapy dog comes by to see them, it really helps to lift their spirits.
- Older people in nursing homes—Therapy dogs are great therapy for older people who live in nursing homes. Sometimes they get lonely or they’re sick too and when a therapy dog comes to visit it can really make their day.
- People in hospitals—People old and young who are in the hospital for any reason seem to really get a lift when they’re visited by a therapy dog. An added bonus, therapy dogs are great for doctors and nurses too!
As therapy dogs become more popular, humans are beginning to understand the affect they have on the people they visit. Did you know that therapy dogs can help lower blood pressure in humans? It’s true! So when a therapy dog visits someone with high blood pressure and heart disease, it can help improve these conditions they have. Therapy dogs are also a BIG help to people struggling with dementia. Sometimes people with dementia can feel sad and depressed when they have a hard time remembering things and a therapy dog can really help to ease their depression.
HOW TO BECOME A THERAPY DOG
Some humans get therapy dogs confused with service dogs, but they’re actually totally different. A guide dog is bred specially to help people with a task to assist with a disability, but a therapy dog can be any dog that’s gone through some training to bring comfort to anyone. The quick and easy way to remember the difference is that a service dog helps their owner, and a therapy dog helps other people. Therapy dogs can be big or little, they just have to be dogs that are pretty mellow, enjoy people and don’t get scared easily because once you become a therapy dog, you’ll be going into different buildings and riding on elevators (which I think sounds cool).
Before a dog can be a therapy dog they have to go through about 6 weeks of training with their owner. This helps the owner know what’s expected of their dog and will help them know if their dog is a good fit for the job. Once the dog completes the training, they are officially certified as a Therapy Dog. Most every city has a program that you can check out. If you’re not sure where to go in your local area you can always check out the AKC and their list of Therapy Dog organizations across the country.
We dogs are pretty special because all of us bring joy to the humans we live with, but dogs that become Therapy Dogs are a little extra special because they help so many people. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about Therapy dogs and I hope you’ll consider letting your dog become one. It’s great for dogs and for humans.
Until Next Time,
Official Canine Quality Control Officer