“According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more then 50% of nursing home residents have no close relatives, and 46% have no living children. These two facts are a major reason why an estimated 85% of nursing home residents never have visitors. If you find these to be disturbing statistics, you can help! Everyone with any type of friendly pet is encouraged to join our team of volunteers. A therapy pet doesn’t need to be perfect as far as obedience is concerned, but they do need a solid friendly temperament and an ability to shine in various situations. A therapy pet is born, not made. A pet can be taught proper behavior, but a pet’s inherent temperament cannot be changed. When a pet is put under stress, a poor or marginal temperament will surface.
A therapy pet must have a rock-solid temperament. This means that the pet should be outgoing and friendly to everyone: men, women, and children. A dog should be friendly toward other dogs (of both genders) and non-aggressive toward other pets. Cats and other species don’t necessarily need to be dog friendly, but must not react strongly when in the vicinity of a dog. Before you consider having your pet evaluated, ask yourself if your pet has these qualities. All volunteer teams (owner and pet) will go through an evaluation before registering as a therapy team. This vital safeguard protects the team as much as it protects others. If you know in your heart that your pet is not suited for therapy work, don’t let the fact that this is something you’ve always wanted to do dictate your actions. Pay attention to what your instincts about your pet are telling you.”
The American Kennel Club website states the following regarding Therapy Dogs,
“What is a Therapy Dog?
Therapy dogs are dogs who go with their owners to volunteer in settings such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes.
From working with a child who is learning to read to visiting a senior in assisted living, therapy dogs and their owners work together as a team to improves the lives of other people.
Therapy dogs are not service dogs. Service dogs are dogs who are specially trained to perform specific tasks to help a person who has a disability. An example of a service dog is a dog who guides an owner who is blind, or a dog who assists someone who has a physical disability. Service dogs stay with their person and have special access privileges in public places such as on planes, resautrants, etc. Therapy dogs do not have the same special access as service dogs.
It is unethical to attempt to pass off a therapy dog as a service dog for purposes such as flying on a plane or being admitted to a restaurant.
American Kennel Club (akc.org)”
At Candle Hill Shepherds, Cardinal, our big red boy, has found his favorite thing is to go visiting and bring joy to people who can no longer have a dog of their own.