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Advice for Health and Happiness from a Therapy Dog

Updated on March 27, 2018
Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank wrote humorous bits for her college newspaper many years ago. Her funny observations have continued in print and online.

photo by Linda Gast, Petey's Human.
photo by Linda Gast, Petey's Human.

Petey's Doggone Good Advice

Petey was an exceptional Licensed Therapy Dog whose scentsable advice and personal example was an inspiration for both humans and pets. As a Therapist, he was always ready to offer health pointers.

by Petey

Being either a dog or a human can be lots of fun, but humans worry about way too many things. Politics and finances make people too stressed out. Live in the moment like a dog.

Diet and exercise are important, but these concerns take care of themselves if your mental state is right, and your owners give you the right food -- the yummy kind, that is also good for you.

photo by Linda Gast
photo by Linda Gast

Don't Overdo "On the Rocks"

I'll have to confess, though appropriate food has always been available for me, I made a few mistakes in my younger years by eating rocks.

I learned my lesson, and now always have a tennis ball with me when I go for a walk, so I am not tempted to slide back into bad dietary habits.


So my first bit of advice is to NOT eat junk food or rocks.

If you need a little crutch to remind you not to put junk in your body, stick a tennis ball in your mouth before going out the door. It works for me.

This works so well that people will not even ask you to go out to lunch with them.

Drink plenty of fresh clean water. Several buckets a day should keep you going strong. Whenever possible, drink out of a clean vessel.

Do not use the large porcelain container in the bathing room for drinking, even if the lid is up. I still have to be reminded about this, but my owners consider this a "drinking problem" and I don't really want to go that route.


Move your tail. Even if you don't have a tail.

Get your whole mind and body into your daily workout. You will feel energized and happy if you make your exercise a game.

You will be surprised at what you can do after you've been at it for awhile.

Your enthusiasm will grow and you will have a buoyant outlook, and maybe a squeeky toy.

photo by Linda Gast
photo by Linda Gast

Volunteering and Mental Health

Volunteer your time for a good cause. Help out the high school students when they go out to clean litter from the highway.

Join a service club and look for opportunities. You will feel helpful and useful when you do something that is helpful and useful.

Getting involved in community activities is a great way to meet people and give yourself a sense of useful accomplishment.

There are plenty of ways to help . Sniff out something new, and get to work.

photo by Linda Gast
photo by Linda Gast

Make Someone Smile

Visiting people in the nursing home, makes them know they are not forgotten. I make them smile and they pet me. It's all good.

You will learn a lot from the elderly people and they will look forward to your visits.

Show interest in their conversations and be a good listener. Even if you don't know what they are saying, and even if they don't know what they are saying, you can both enjoy yourselves.

Many of them have had very interesting lives, and sometimes they have an extra bite of cake that they just can't finish themselves. It would be impolite to refuse.

photo by Linda Gast
photo by Linda Gast

Accept help from Someone

We all need a hand sometime.

Don't be embarrassed if someone babies you a bit when you just can't do it all.

When I had my knee surgery, I hated to miss my usual activities, so I was more than happy to accept a lift instead of walking.

People like to help you, as much as you like to help them.

Remember, it makes people happy when they can help you, too.

We all like to feel useful.

photo by Linda Gast
photo by Linda Gast

Be Nice to Everyone

It doesn't take much effort to be polite to everyone.

You can be courteous to all kinds of people, even if you don't really understand them.

People will act weird sometimes, but don't let that change the way you act toward them.

You can't always tell what is in their mind, or what they are going through. Your example may even be a great help in helping them to see how silly they really are being.

photo by Linda Gast
photo by Linda Gast


Keep well groomed: Bathe regularly. Brush your teeth.

Clip your nails, get your coat brushed and keep your balls clean.

Use shampoo, insect repellent or deodorant.

It's not only about personal appearance; it's part of a healthy lifestyle.

photo by Linda Gast
photo by Linda Gast

Enjoy a Hobby

Using your hands (or paws) to make craft items like jewelry out of ordinary materials can be an enjoyable pastime .

Idle paws are the devil's playground. Make something useful and enjoy keeping busy.

Attractive pieces, such as this necklace, can be given as gifts, sold at craft fairs - or eaten.


Write a Book

Expressing yourself is a great way to keep your thoughts sorted out, and leave a legacy for your pups, or another generation of dog owners.

You might even find that your personal, or doggeral, experiences and insights can help someone else and give them a new leash on life.

My advice booklet was sold by the local animal shelter as a fund-raising item.

I even had a book signing!

I'm famous -- everywhere I go, people say "Hi. Petey."

You never know where writing will take you.

Linda, Petey and Rochelle at the booksigning.
Linda, Petey and Rochelle at the booksigning.

Therapy dogs at the hospital.


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