View Full Version : Therapy dogs

Jack Heinlen
11-02-2004, 06:50 PM
Anyone know what this is about? As I understand it it is dogs who comfort, by their presence, people who are disabled, or sick. I think there is a training, and a licensure. Anyone know anything about it?

I know, I could Google, but I'm curious what people here know.

11-02-2004, 06:59 PM
The more people I meet around here the more I like my dog........ :D

11-02-2004, 06:59 PM
Therapy dogs run a wide range of uses and training. Some are just lovable breeds who's owners take them to old folk's homes, orphanages, etc.. to mush with the inmates. Others are specifically trained for certain types of therapy, usually governed by the breed's fancy, and carrying special certification for dogs that do the training and work.


Jack Heinlen
11-02-2004, 07:05 PM
Donn asked

Why? It's something I think I'd like to do with a dog. The dog I'm considering might be a prospect.

I did it, informally, when I worked the mental health trenches. Sheba was by my side, and she gave something to those people no amount of human contact could ever give. Joy.

I was wondering what the various ins and outs of doing it formally are.

11-02-2004, 07:13 PM
Different institutions have different requirements. Informal is one of the most fun ways to do it. There are 3 shut-in oldies in the neighborhood who get regular visits from Red, and they just love it, as does Red.

Ken Hutchins
11-02-2004, 07:57 PM
There is specific traning and licenses, which have to renewed I think annually. My wife got her first Norfolk licensed, I will ask her for more info and post it tomorrow.

Jack Heinlen
11-02-2004, 08:54 PM
I'd appreciate that Ken.

11-02-2004, 10:29 PM
The emphasis is on "therapy," the dog is incidental. The dog handler is assumed to be qualified in psychology.

I'm married to a clinical psychologist--think I ever win an argument at home...?

Jack Heinlen
11-02-2004, 11:28 PM

Freya was spayed today. I may go meet her tomorrow. It's only an hour drive. She won't show her true colors, coming out of surgery. But...if I get a good sense I'll adopt her.

She'll be a challenge. Talk about therapy. smile.gif Completely untrained, mistreated. She's hand shy, so she's been hit. :( But...I like the look of the girl, so I think I'll give her a chance. The worst that can happen is I'll have to take her back to the shelter.

[ 11-02-2004, 11:38 PM: Message edited by: Jack Heinlen ]

Ross M
11-02-2004, 11:46 PM
If anyone can save her, it is probably you. Sorry to keep pushing this one Jack, but that picture really works on me.


11-03-2004, 03:20 AM
It works on me too! smile.gif

11-03-2004, 12:26 PM
Jack -

That looks like a great dog for you.


11-03-2004, 02:54 PM
Freya is Beeootiful!
Looks smart, healthy, full of personality.
You need this dog, Jack!
Freya needs you!

11-03-2004, 03:06 PM
Remember our pound-puppy, Czar?


...Eleven months later...guess who's taken over the house?


11-03-2004, 03:35 PM
And he's got a favorite chair! Good looking critter.

Jack...that dog's ears appeal to me. Gotta be a good dog with ears like that. http://media5.hypernet.com/ubb/icons/icon14.gif

11-03-2004, 03:37 PM
There are several organizations, The Delta Society and Therapy Dog International come to mind right now. Both involve some training for both you and the dog, and are generally necessary if you would like to do 'official' visits to hospitals, nursing homes, elementary schools, etc.

Go here to ask your question - a forum much like this, but for dog folks! There are several people that are involved in therapy visits. www.idog.com (http://www.idog.com)

11-03-2004, 03:43 PM
"...And he's got a favorite chair!..."


11-03-2004, 04:50 PM
I know that dogs have been used in nursing homes etc for years..Actually all pets can be good therapy for the ill and the elderly. People are even using llamas in some cases....

Paul Pless
11-03-2004, 06:53 PM
Many, many types of therapies. We have had several over the years here at my kennel and continue to have a few now. Our latest is a three year old Golden Retriever, that has been trained to help children learn to read. The teacher will place the children in a circle to read a story aloud, with each child taking turns. Most children crave the attention of our Golden. She has been trained to respond to whichever child is currently reading and going over to that child and sit in front of it and 'listen' to that child's portion of the story. After the child finishes reading she gets a pet and hug from the child before moving to pay attention to the next reader.

We also have a number of dogs that visit assisted living and nursing homes as well as dogs that visit homes of the mentally and physically handicapped.

This type of work has been greatly rewarding to myself, to my employees, and to my dogs as well as being of benefit to those people who might not otherwise have been able to enjoy the companionship of man's best friend.

Thinking of dogs brings to mind the following quotes:

"If it be the chief point of friendship to comply with a friend's motions and inclinations, he possesses this in an eminent degree; he lies down when I sit and walks when I walk, which is more than many good friends can pretend to do."

- Alexander Pope

"No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversations as a dog does."

- Christopher Morley

and my favorite

"The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog...He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come encounter with the roughness of the world...
When all other friends desert, he remains."

- George G. Vest


I am so very fortunate to do the work that I do that allows me to surround myself with dogs and the people that love dogs. I very much hope that you find a new dog soon. You have much to offer a dog, and we both know that dogs have much to offer us.

in kindness,
your friend,


Jack Heinlen
11-03-2004, 11:38 PM
Hey, thanks everyone. It sounds like it ranges from the completely informal to the fairly rigorous. We'll see how the time goes. I've been thinking some volunteer work at the VA or some local nursing homes is on the agenda this winter, and Freya would make a good comerado.

I met her today. Smart, sweet. All she needs is love and direction.

It's amazing how resilient some dogs are. She's not been badly abused I don't think, just neglected. I don't know how anyone could neglect this dog! She's a doll. Smart, sweet, eager to please. And Donn, her ears are great! They flop until something gets her attention, and then they prick right up. Long, sharp ears that have a very comforting and comical effect. smile.gif But I'm not getting my hopes up. I'll know Friday.

I wish I had the energy to respond to everyone's posts, but I'm beat tonight. Thanks, all.

"Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit you would stay out and your dog would go in."


[ 11-03-2004, 11:54 PM: Message edited by: Jack Heinlen ]

11-04-2004, 10:57 AM
"Therapy Dogs On Emergency Call!"