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Pet-Assisted Therapy

Updated on December 20, 2014

Pet Assisted Therapy Dogs

Amazing Pets Helping Others! Who doesn't smile at a happy bundle of fur, especially one that is especially patient and obedient?

Perhaps your special dog is destined to help others by becoming a therapy dog!

What is a pet assistant or a service dog, and what are the requirements, anyway?

I am happy to say I have two trained therapy "grand-dogs," and let me tell you, they are grand!

Let's see if you and your pet qualifies to help change the world, one patient at a time, as a therapy team.

Photo by Allyson Page ~ all rights reserved.

Other photo credits are noted

Where it all begins ~ Moses...

...Taking Care of his people and being a best friend ~ what a Tale!

The Goal of Therapy Dog Trainers ~ And their Handlers...

...This is beyond awesome. Please watch, shed a tear, and you will understand why there is such a need for therapy and service dogs ~ Empowering and Transforming Lives ~ supporting families, and giving hope.

Monty and Lou ~ Attend School!

Monty Growing Up!
Monty Growing Up!

Monty and Roxie, rescued Papillions

Meet Monty, a brown and white Papillion! Monty, giving Grandma the what-for, is playing with his sister Roxie. Roxie almost died from ingesting a corncob and her owners couldn't afford the emergency surgery. She was saved by my daughter ~ who is a vet tech, and who has a soft spot for Papillions ~ lucky Roxie! But since Roxie is somewhat aggressive, she wasn't even considered for therapy school. Here it looks like Monty is the aggressive one! His sister must have been picking on him and he's the one that got caught! Poor Monty!

Teamworks Dog Training, in Raleigh, North Carolina, is where Lou ~ where IS Lou? ~ and Monty's training began. Before they could qualify for Therapy School, they had to receive their Canine Good Citizen certificate. So off to school they went! They even had to have proof of proper vaccinations ~ well, it is school!

Some achievement goals to becoming a Canine Good Citizen are: Come when called, sit and stay, lie down and stay, calmly greet someone, be able to calmly walk past another dog, and to walk loosely on a lease. Seven weeks of training and they were certified as Canine Good Citizens ~ they were on their way to becoming certified therapy dogs!

Photo from G'ma's (Bev Lemley) brag book ~ all rights reserved

Lou and Monty Off to Therapy School ~ The Training Would be Tough!

Lou! Lou! Where are you?! This is definitely not Lou! He's gonna to be late for class! I'll bet he's still sleeping ~ a favorite pastime!

Lou and Monty would be very challenged! They would have to learn to be calm during many different situations, including people suddenly coming at them or suddenly veering or lunging, and they would have to get used to seeing folks in wheelchairs or using walkers and canes ~ or pushing IV poles. They would be exposed to many different medical devices and seeing people in bathrobes, or wearing masks and hats, and would have to remain calm!

I remember helping with homework, trying to scare Monty and Lou by suddenly jumping out at them. I was amazed that they were really learning to stand still and not react! To qualify for a thearpy team, the handler has to learn how to interact with the patients, too. The dogs had to continue to stay calm, wag their tail if at all possible, and certainly no growling!

Photo property of Bev Lemley ~ all rights reserved

Certified Canine Citizens and graduates of Therapy School ~ now what?!

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Lou! There you are! Good Boy!

They graduated with honors!

The next step is being properly evaluated so the areas they would work in would be a good fit for their personality. This would require taking a "test" and being given a score.

An approved Teamworks trainer put Monty and Lou through the paces, scoring them on their newly acquired skills. How did they do? Little Monty, a rescued Papillion, barely six pounds, received excellent, enough points to qualify to serve at any type facility, such as prisons, mental facilities, children hospitals,virtually any place that allows therapy pet visits!

Lou received enough points to qualify for middle level visits, meaning most places that do not have children or mental facilities. He is just a little bit more naturally skittish, whereas Monty is always the little star of the show. Lou did fantastic, too ~ I am proud of them both ~ as well as Allyson!

Only Monty qualified for See Spot Read, a literacy program in Raleigh, North Carolina, using certified therapy dogs to help children learn to read, since Lou wasn't certified to work with children. READ dogs patiently listen while the children sound out their words and improve their reading! Another win-win! More about this type of therapy in a bit!

Photo of Allyson Lemley ~ All rights reserved

Called to Service ~ and many are transformed...

One story of inspiration...that will likely change lives....

Alone...

"Alone we can do so little ~ Together we can do so much" ~ Helen Keller

Thanks for reminding us, Canines for Service!

Canines for Service's Amazing Mission ~ Transforming and Empowering

Canines for Service has received many rewards for their dedication for Enpowering People With Disabilities to Achieve Greater Independence ~ which is their motto, after all! I encourage you to watch their videos, which are filled with amazing stories of how service dogs have helped wounded soldiers and those with disabilities. It is very heart-touching to see just what animals can be trained to do, and just how they empower the ones they come to serve. Canines for Service provides at no cost, fully trained service dogs, which can take from one to three years to train, at a cost of $40,000.

Canines for Service completely relies on donations. You can watch the video here and donate to Canines for Service, as well . The video clip tells how a National pilot program is using military prisoners to assist in training the dogs ~ and how being with the dogs helps the prisoners, even changing their lives. So it is, no question, a win-win-win situation. Canines for Service even has an online store and a listing of ongoing fundraising opportunities.

Their credentials are very impressive, from providing people with service dogs, assisting in training, and providing visits ~ they even received Newman's Own Reward in 2009 and 2010 for providing assistance to military familiies. The entire list of achievements and awards and what they have provided to the community is amazing and quite a service, greatly empowering many lives to achieve greater independence.

Photo by Bev Lemley ~ all right reserved

Animals give unconditional love...

...and make sick patients smile and forget their pain and doctors' concerned expressions. Therapy pets give patients a boost of encouragement, topped with love and a time to just be happy. A new bond is formed and love is shared.

Animals Volunteering ~ and walking the halls of a hospital...

...what do you think?

Animals in a Hospital! What are they thinking?!

See results

More great info...

Happy Tails ~ and Happy Tales!

HI, LOUIE!

Did you know there are even therapy READ dogs? READ stands for Reading Education Assistance Dogs ~ what a wonderful way for a child with literacy problems to start learning to read ~ with a furry friend beside them, enjoying the story as the young reader sounds out the words! How powerful and life changing is that?!

Don't you think that Lou would be a perfect READ buddy!

Please read more about how READ dogs are helping to change the world, one child at a time, at the Animal Health Foundation Web page Therapy Dogs Help Children with Reading Education.

Photo from Grandma's brag book (Bev Lemley) ~ all rights Reserved

Would you like to learn more...

...about therapy animals? Visit

Field of Honor At Attention. You will enjoy the visit!

Our Forgotten Warriors

This lens donates 100 percent to Our Forgotten Warriors, a charity for our veterans, which in part has a service pet assistant program, Aide to Care for Service Dogs. Make a direct donation? Sure! Make a Donation How wonderful is that?! Peace!

Other Therapy Dog programs ~ in the United States

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For further info on becoming a therapy dog team would be at Therapy Dogs. If you're an animal lover, you will go nuts over their Board of Directors page ~ so many beautiful, well-groomed dogs with their loyal owners, all dedicated to the cause of creating successful therapy teams ~ even the office staff have gorgeous dogs!

Qualifications that a pet must have before being considered for therapy dog training are outlined on Therapy Dog's website. Some of the tougher ones are: They can't be spooked by strange noises or smells or by folks who walk unsteadily, and they must walk on a lease without pulling ~ and they have to be at least one year old. Again, this is Therapy Dog's requirements, in the state of Wyoming.

Photo by Bev Lemley ~ All Rights Reserved

Rescued Loving Paws ~ Helping to Rescue Children...

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Isn't it amazing that abused and neglected animals can be saved, rehabilitated, and trained to actually help children with mental, emotional, or behavioral issues? Don't you just find that a marvelous win-win?! How powerful is a program that links rehabilitated animals and abused, traumatized children, whole families, even veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress, to give and receive a helping hand, a fighting chance?! The animals give what nothing else in this world can, even though they had to be given a fighting chance as well.

Incredible as it seems, this nonprofit enlists certified counselors, volunteers, and the humane society in Texas, putting love and volunterism together, to create new lives, new beginnings, and renewed hope for families and for communities and, essentially, the world. I highly recommend anyone who feels any kinship to this mission, rescuing animals, helping others regain their footing, and the concept of Animal-Assisted Therapy, to check out TherapyWorks' mission ~ it can be life changing!

"The world is a dangerous place...

...not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing"

~ Albert Einstein

Thank you, TherapyWorks, for reminding us!

Canines for Service ~ Won the Newman's Own Award for 2009 and 2010

Thank you, Mr. Newman! The Spirit of Service speaks loudly through $250 million being given away to worldwide charities ~ and is still giving.

Amazing Information ~ READ ALL ABOUT IT!

Here are some info-packed volumes, ready to assist you on your journey to becoming a charitable team with your pet.

More Loving Directions On Becoming a Therapeuic Team

Here are some loving lenses ~ wow, what love is shared here ~ and what lives are changed!

Or do you know someone who does? Tell us about it! Thank you!

Do you have a pet ~ that would make a wonderful therapy dog?

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    • BLemley profile image
      Author

      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @malena10: Thank you so much, Darja1981, for stopping by! B : )

    • malena10 profile image

      malena10 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens, animals can really help a lot!

    • BLemley profile image
      Author

      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @chadwik05: Great! Wonderful to hear about a puppy that may become a therapy dog ~ I sense a great story and lens! Keep us posted! Thank you for your visit! B : )

    • chadwik05 profile image

      chadwik05 5 years ago

      We're hoping our dog will be a great therapy dog, he's still a puppy right now though.

    • profile image

      myamya 5 years ago

      Great lens, well done! Squidlike

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      I only have a cat, but I find dogs therapeutic! Nice ones, anyway.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great stuff....

    • orangegirl6020 profile image

      orangegirl6020 5 years ago

      I love your pictures!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      What a wonderful, informative lens you've put together here! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My daughter works in a rehab facility and says therapy dogs work miracles! Thank you for sharing!

    • profile image

      ideadesigns 5 years ago

      Dogs truly can be heroes! They can also help one not feel so lonely if unable to get out as much. :)

    • wilfredpadilla profile image

      wilfredpadilla 5 years ago

      The dog above looks like my dog Gracia. At first sight, I thought it was her. Maybe they are cousins. :)

      Feel free to visit my lens about her, if you have time.

      Thanks!

    • BLemley profile image
      Author

      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @sousababy: Thank you, Rose! I appreciate that! I think it's great that folks can travel around on Squidoo and get a great overall picture of things they're interested in. Thanks for the "teaming up"! Bev

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      Just added this gorgeous lens to my Reading Dogs, Seeing Eye Dogs and Therapy Dogs lens. Hope it helps! (Thanks for featuring mine). Sincerely, Rose

    • BLemley profile image
      Author

      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @sousababy: Thank you so much for your encouraging words and for Google +1'ing this! I have featured your article on this lens, and hope that folks can read more about what you have written, helping to inform others about the special needs of others and the ways that service that dogs can provide them with invaluable assistance. Thank you! B : )

    • BLemley profile image
      Author

      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @sousababy: I love your READ lens! I added it here ~ I hope folks will keep on reading about Pet-Assisted-Therapy and learn more about service dogs and folks who depend on them, your lens provides great info about that, too. Thank you for plusing this lens, too ~ boy! How humbling and encouraging! Thank you so much for your visit! B : )

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      Deserves a google +1 and added to my 'Living Articles on Squidoo' lens under the heading: Our four-legged friends and how they heal us.

      Great work!

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      Wow, I actually did a lens on the READ program. I am adding this to my 'Living Articles on Squidoo' lens - hope it helps! Again, amazing photos - love that one of Louie.

    • BLemley profile image
      Author

      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @rewards4life info: I agree! There's just something about that unconditional love! Thank you for the visit and for the kind comments! Best wishes to your blessed household! B : )

    • rewards4life info profile image

      rewards4life info 5 years ago

      We have 2 dogs and 4 cats and they certainly bring therapy and calm to our house. Having animals is so rewarding they can lift spirits and encourage happiness. Pet assisted therapy is such a good idea, if it helps people in some way then it can't be bad. Nice lens.

    • BLemley profile image
      Author

      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @Close2Art LM: Wow! That's cool that you work with the Cub Scouts and they are learning about caring for animals. Thank you for the visit and for your very kind words ~ and for the blessing! B : )

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 5 years ago

      I just took my cub scout pack to the Humane Society where they learned about volunteering to walk and foster animals, they loved it and I love this lens, **Blessed**

      great job, very positive...:)Rob

    • BLemley profile image
      Author

      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @indigoj: Thank you for the blessing! Thank you for taking a look and for your kind thoughts! B : )

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

      I don't, but I think Monty and Lou both sound like wonderful personalities and it's fantastic that they are bringing so much joy and comfort. Well done to you all for achieving this great goal. Angel Blessed.

    • BLemley profile image
      Author

      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      @annieangel1: I agree! There is nothing like a cat that just wants to curl up in your lap and be petted! No matter what's going on, all that purring just makes you take a minute and forget most other things! Thanks for stopping by! B : )

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 5 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      my 2 cats are too nervous but it is a great idea.