For International Assistance Dog Week it is important that we highlight the value these dogs provide at the times we need them most. While all assistance dogs provide their own unique service to their owners, therapy dog teams volunteer their time to help others who may suffer from P.T.S.D, depression, seniors in nursing homes and even children with autism. Examples of their exemplary efforts can also be seen after the 9/11 attacks, the Boston bombings and now, with Orlando’s tragedy. The special team of Therapy dogs went into action to provide what the victim’s and their families needed most at the time, emotional support.
As a therapy animal, dogs must be very accepting to strangers hugging and touching them. Therapy dogs need to have solid obedience training in place so that they do not interupt hospital staff, panic at loud sirens, eat anything off the floor (pills for example), or be distracted by other dogs or objects while working. This training can take 12 to 18 months depending on the dog and the frequency of the training. However once a dog is ready, the teams can prove themselves by taking an exam. Once they pass they can purchase their therapy dog kit, which includes, registration, identification tags or vest and a certificate and begin the wonderful work of helping those in need.
These wonderfull dogs are there when people don’t understand or when they just dont want to talk about their problems or physically are not capable of speech, no matter the issues these dogs know exactly what to do and provide the emotional support that is needed through their keen senses and training; they change lives and impact all of society behind the scenes on a daily basis.
Here at AYP we would like to personally thank all the assistance dogs and their handlers for their selfless and wonderful efforts!
If you are interested in having your dog join the efforts of these amazing people, we do offer training to help ensure that your dog can pass not only their Canine Good Citizen exam (a perfect practice test) but of course the Therapy Dogs exam, which we offer quarterly with therapydogsinternational.com
Written by Alex Alvarez