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?
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.
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
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
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
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.