Therapy


Delta San Antonio
National Delta Society
Therapy Dogs International


"Therapy work is one of the fastest-growing canine activities... "This is the most gratifying kind of volunteering... Magical things happen... the dogs are a catalyst for making people want to get better. Doing animal-assisted therapy together is a real high, especially if it's something both you and your dog enjoy"...

"Not everyone is cut out to be a social worker, and likewise, not every dog is cut out to be a therapy dog...

"She estimatese that about 25 to 30 percent of dogs have the potential to enjoy becoming therapy dogs.. "It's stressful work. It's not fair to the dog unless he thrives on it. I've tested dogs who will let me do anything to them, but they're saying, "Please, let this be over,"" says Anderson. "I want the dog who's lighting up, who enjoys interaction with people"...

See the book, Therapy Dogs: Training Your Dog to Reach Others, by Kathy Diamond Davis.

"...the Delta Society pet-partner certification test. Even for a mature, calm dog like Craigon, this is one tough test...

"There's a segment, for example, where two volunteers yell at each other; at the end of the argument, one of the people involved calls the dog over to be petted... In another segment, an evaluator hugs the dog tightly, then begins to pet him with his knuckels and elbows...

"The test judges the dog's basic obedience, his reaction to loud noises, his interaction with people using medical equipment such as wheelchairs, and his reaction to being bumped...

"The bottom line: A dog has to have the kind of personality that welcomes new people and new situations. "You can't have a dog that's fine AFTER he gets to know people. The people you visit expect comfort from a therapy dog. If the dog rejects them, how bad is that?"...

"Be sure that the organization that you work with provides liability insurance. The best-trained dog in the world can get his tail caught in an intravenous line, or be hurt when an excited patient veers over to the dog and trips...

"...the value of having a support group... help volunteers find the right niche for the human-dog team... makes people more likely to continue to volunteer, and to enjoy their experiences" (Wood, Deborah. "The Healers." AKC Gazette, Dec. 2003, 36-39).


Colby Glass, MLIS