Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Meggie's first pet pup therapy visit! Gooddogz Good Company

 One of my long term goals is to start a pet therapy group modeled after the defunct Boston area Helping Hounds. I was a member of The Helping Hounds for 10 years with my  dogs Dina, Rollo and Charlee. My dogs were favorites at Boston Children's Hospital, Spaulding Rehab, and local nursing homes, and I loved each and every visit.

Mothering 3 young kids put my plans  on hold until... now!

I haz the cute!

Charlee and I did our first official pet visitation last month to an assisted living facility. Some of you may remember that was the day we added cute and adorable Cotton, our 3 month old rabbit to the family.. You cannot help but smile when you look at Cotton with her one ear up, one ear down. I am told that she may stay like that. Here's hoping.

When I was visited  last month, I mentioned that I had an adorable foster pup dog at home. And so it was that Meggie went on her very first pet therapy visit by request.

Meggie is an excellent planter of  kisses

I am often asked what it takes for a dog to be a therapy dog . Well training of course and there are agencies like Therapy dog Inc and Therapy Dog International as well as Delta Society  who will certify and insure your dog if they pass their tests. There are also many places usually nursing home that are often very close to your home, that will welcome your well behaved dog. Some require a Canine Good  Citizen Certificate from the AKC. 
Not sure if your dog is welcome at a facility near you? Call and find out what is required.  

There is a lot a dog needs to learn to be a therapy dog. To be clear, I am not advising that any one bring any dog anywhere with out any thought or training. Common sense must prevail and  at minimum dogs cannot be fearful or  aggressive. They must not  jump up, know basic commands, and be proofed for the unexpected, like dropped trays and people grabbing at them. They MUST really like people.

To my surprise, Meggie was grabbed and held by her snout by several people.. She was a bit surprised, but tolerated it well, and of course I came to her rescue immediately. To be clear, Meggie  is not a therapy dog at this time. She would need lots more training. Today Meggie was a visiting puppy and I micro managed her.

After our visit, she worked on chill while residents made their way to the dining room. She did excellent with walkers, wheelchairs and a variety of adoring new fans.

Meggie LOVES LOVES LOVES people and she may be a candidate for therapy dog. Time as well as her person will tell.

Meggie is a FABULOUS dog with an ever widening fan club. I am certain her family is just around the corner.
To view Meggie's Petfinder bio, please click here.

If you would like to join our pet therapy group, please let me know. Well behaved dogs welcome! Pet Therapy is an excellent venue for continuing canine education.  If you know a venue in need of pet visitations, please let me know.

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