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I am an American-Irish solo world explorer who travels with her rescue pup. This is a place for dog & travel lovers to come together to share tips & more. We want to inspire you to go on adventures with your best (furry) friends!

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Therapy Dogs: What are they?

Have you heard of therapy dogs before? Do you know that they are different than service dogs? Do you know that your dog could become a therapy dog?

Therapy dog
Comet at a nursing home visiting with the residents

What are Therapy Dogs?

Therapy dogs help provide stress relief and support to different communities by visiting with their owner. They often visit nursing homes, colleges, medical centers, or hospices. Therapy dogs are different than service dogs as they do not perform services for their owner (officially!). They undergo training with their owner after they turn one year old. Then how often they act as a therapy dog depends on how often their owner wants to volunteer.

Nursing Homes

My mom owns two golden retrievers, both of whom are therapy dogs. Once a week they visit a nursing home where the residents can pet the dogs and talk with my mom. It is the highlight of some of their weeks. Often they had dogs growing up but now living in a nursing home they do not have pets. Comet and Clementine‘s only job is to be loving and welcoming to everyone and let them pet and love on them.

College Stress Relief Weeks

My mom also participates in college stress relief week during finals. These events allow college students to take a break during the most stressful time of the year and pet some dogs. Students say they look forward to this event all year!

Reading Buddy Program

Clementine, a therapy dog, listening to an Elementary School student read to her

Another successful program is Reading Buddies. Comet and Clementine visit their local elementary school where kids read books to them. This helps improve the kids’ reading skills and gives them the confidence to read. Dogs are great listeners. 

Therapy Dogs at Airports

Recently, Bradley International Airport invited therapy dogs to the airport to help reduce the stress of traveling. These dogs walk around the departure terminal, giving travelers a chance to pet them and relax before their flight.

Become a Therapy Dog Team!

Bright Spot Therapy Dogs is the program my mom and her dogs are a part of. You can volunteer yourself and your dog as well, all you need to do is go through basic training and past the test. There are programs such as this around the world and is a great way to share your dog’s love with those who need it.

Comet on duty teaching people about therapy dogs

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