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Pet Therapy

Ever since I obtained my Canine Good Citizenship (CGI) award at Camp Gone To The Dogs, we have been visiting the local hospital and a nursing home. It is a service we provide to those who are shut in or ill and need some canine companionship. It is difficult for anyone who has a canine or feline companion and can no longer keep them due to their life circumstances changing or the time they must spend in a hospital.

Some Pet Therapy Dogs belong to organizations which arrange for visits and other people work on their own as we do. Pet Therapy Dogs come in all shapes and sizes from my larger friends to little guys like me. Some dogs wear bandanas and I wear all sorts of clothes including my sneakers and jewelry. My job, as I see it, is to brighten up the residents day if only for a few moments. If we have accomplished that, we have made life for another just a bit brighter. For additional information on Pet Therapy dogs go on the internet to: http://www.tdi-dog.org/whatdo.html

Think about getting your CGI and getting involved!


The Many Faces of Therapy
Kathleen M. Dorry

It is interesting how a simple conversation can affect a persons thoughts and memories. I was waiting for a car repair recently and observed the owners display of Hindu gods. Not being knowledgeable on Hinduism, I inquired about the picture and he explained that as a Hindu, he believed there is one god, although he is portrayed in many faces/forms. He described these as attributes. We all have different sides to ourselves and times when we treat others as we would like to be treated and other times when we are not so kind and times when we try to balance between our two natures.

I remembered several recent occurrences from our pet therapy visits.

My little dog, Kelsie and I visit a hospital and nursing home as part of pet therapy. During one of our visits, we noticed a resident who was unable to move his twisted body and did not appear to be communicative at all. According to our training, certainly I could not ask about his condition but during one visit, I took Kelsie over and asked if he would like to meet Kelsie. No response. So I bent down and Kelsie kissed his hand. Suddenly a broad smile came over his face and his eyes lit up! Kelsie had broken through where I could not.

Another visit brought us to meet a wife and son of a man who was comatose with the end appeared not far off. We were invited to visit the room and the wife explained how much her husband loved dogs. I wondered what could we do for this man and his family at such a devastating time? I asked if she would like to have Kelsie kiss her husbands face? She would indeed! Kelsie is a gentle companion and seemed to sense the gravity of her husbands condition. Very gently he stood on the husbands bed and kissed his cheek. There was a response from him and we will never know what it meant to the man but it was a gift Kelsie could give to his wife and son.

While on another visit, a patient was excited about Kelsie and told us all about her dog and how much she missed him. Her roommate was very quiet. I looked over saw a small woman and the poor soul must have had cancer/surgery and only had ½ of her face and very little hair left. I asked if she would like Kelsie to meet her and she timidly said yes. Kelsie greeted her and kissed her as if she were an old friend. It made her day. I could only think how difficult life was for herhow people must stare at heravoid her. Kelsie didnt see her deformity her just saw her as a new friend.

The explanation of Hinduism reminded me of the many faces we all have and show to people depending upon the circumstances. We have to work at it yet Kelsie does not; he accepts people as he meets them whatever situation, deformity or wherever he is on his journey.

Any of you thinking about exposing your canine companion to pet therapy or looking for a volunteer opportunity, consider canine good citizen and pet therapy training. You just cannot imagine how much you can do for so many people one dog at a time one person at a time.


Copyright © 2007 by Kathleen M. Dorry. All rights reserved.

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