Therapy Friends

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Therapy Friends

Hi there “Big Dog” here.  As I mentioned in my first blog, I am a registered therapy dog.  Therapy dogs provide so many benefits, almost too many to mention.  We help to temporarily increase levels of oxytocin (the “love” hormone) and dopamine (involved in the reward-motivation system) and decrease cortisol levels (an immunosuppressant associated with stress).  I like to go to local universities during final exams to help students de-stress for a bit.  I especially enjoy building the self-confidence of children by letting them read to me.

This week I want to introduce you to some friends that help out in local hospitals. They have so many heartwarming stories to share, like the time my friend “Riley Simpson” sat on the bed of a child who had been in a coma for 11 days. Her handler helped to rub the girls hand on Riley’s fur and the girl began to smile and pull out of the coma. They are a huge comfort to families under stress and also to the doctors and nurses caring for the patients. I thought a video would let you experience a portion of a day in the life of a therapy dog. The video shows my friends “Dobby” Givens and “Kylie” Beglane in action and making a difference in the lives of many.

Does your dog have what it takes to be a therapy dog?  A few of the required qualities are basic control and obedience skills (sit, down, come, stay, walk under control, etc.) and a nice even temperament. Some of the therapy dog credentialing programs are Love on a Leash, Alliance of Therapy Dogs (formerly TDInc), Therapy Dogs International (TDI) and there are many others.

If you see a therapy dog today, be sure and give them a big hug!

Thanks for hanging out with me,

Aengus (aka “The Big Dog”)

"Riley" Simpson (shown here in one of her funny costumes)

“Riley” Simpson in one of her funny costumes

"Abby" Beglane comforting a Duke cancer patient

“Abby” Beglane comforting a Duke cancer patient

"Abby" Beglane cheering up an oncology nurse

“Abby” Beglane cheering up an oncology nurse

"Electra" Pitz makes folks smile with her fun hats

“Electra” Pitz makes folks smile with her fun hats

“Riley" Simpson pictured with Duke Life Flight

“Riley” Simpson pictured with Duke Life Flight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A therapy animal is a dog (cat, rabbit) who volunteers with its handler to consistently and safely provide comfort and joy to people in need in a variety of settings. Assistance may be physical or emotional.  A therapy dog is NOT a service dog.