The Leo U team expresses their deepest gratitude to our contributors for Therapy Leos: Dale Johnson and John McCrae.
The healing power of a quick lick or a deep sigh can not be beat.
John McCrae's Coach was the first Leonberger to earn the LCA Therapy Award.
Here she sneaks a kiss.
Listen to Dr.Edward Creagan present "The Health Benefits of Pets" below:
Before moving on to more information - test your Therapy background in this Word Search
There are literally hundreds of choices for making people's lives happier with therapy visits from you and your dog. Here are a few suggestions:
- Rehabilitation Units – This type of facility is a magnet for long-term rehabilitation care, with some patients in residence for months or even years. By visiting this type of facility, you and your dog are sure to establish close and long-term personal relationships.
- Nursing homes – Nursing homes were one of the first settings to accept the concept of pet therapy. The title “nursing home” has become somewhat dated in recent years. Corporate-owned facilities generally have come up with more marketable titles.
- Retirement Communities – The title says it all. When seniors decide to downsize to a retirement community, some of them may be confined to a wheelchair. Many of them will have fond memories of the pets they have owned, and they will want to talk about their pets.
- Hospice Care – Hospice care facilities often have dogs in residence, usually given free reign of the facility. If a hospice care facility in your area does not have a resident dog, this would be an excellent opportunity to start regular visits.
- Children’s Hospital – Kids and dogs; what a combination. Keep in mind that Children’s Hospitals are specialized facilities. Be sure to verify that your skills will mesh with their requirements.
- Public Library – Perhaps your local library is one of those who sponsor “reading-with-dogs” programs. This is likely to be a one-on-one therapy opportunity, where your energy and your dog’s energy are focused on just one young person. Here is an excellent opportunity for a handler who might not be up to the physical requirements of a visit to a 100-bed facility.
- General hospitals – Think for just a moment. The goal of many general hospitals seems to be to have their patients released in four or five days. Or less! If you have visited a patient in a general hospital, you are already aware of the tempo and the tension on many of the floors. This type of facility would not rank high on the list of possible therapy venues.
- Funeral homes – Yes; funeral homes. In her seven-year career, Ginger bonded with two elderly ladies who eventually passed away. With the approval of the funeral home director, each time, Ginger made a final therapy visit. All of the family members of the deceased immediately recognized the therapy dog, even though they had never met her before. Both grandmas had kept their family members totally informed about their long-term pet therapy relationships.
Although for many locations you do not need Therapy Certification, it is a very good idea. There are two major national organizations (and probably many offshoots) that certify your dog as an official therapy dog. With the certification, you and your dog have the opportunity to be covered by insurance before, during and after a therapy visit.
88 Bartley Road
Flanders, NJ 07836
875 124th Ave. NE #101
Bellevue, WA 98005
The Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dogs, Inc
80 Powder Mill Rd
Morris Plains, NJ 07950
Alliance of Therapy Dogs
Cheyenne, WY 82003
- K.D. Davis, Therapy Dogs, Howell Book House, N.Y. 2002
- M.R. Burch, Volunteering with your pet: How to get Involved in Animal Assisted Therapy, Howell Book House 1996
- L. Palika, Love on a Leash: Giving Joy to Others Through Pet Therapy, Alpine, Loveland, CO 1996
- Breeze Stanart, Working as a Therapy Dog, 2002
- Lorie Long, A Dog Who’s Always Welcome, Wiley Publishing, 2008
- Dr. Marty Becker, The Healing Power of Pets, Hyperion, 2002
Websites (LeoU is not responsible for the content of these websites)
The Ultimate Therapy Visit
Yesterday was just like any other Monday/ Wednesday or Friday with Coach and I visiting the Winnipesuakie Wellness Center where I workout 3 times a week for various medical problems. Coach has the distinction of being both a service dog and therapy dog. This particular day she was acting as a service dog and taking care of dad until she was called into action as a therapy Leo. The Wellness Center is attended by patients recommended by their doctors. Most of us are on the autumns side of life, but yesterday there was a teenage girl with Down Syndrome, or Up Syndrome as we prefer to call it in NH, accompanied by an aide. We were told that she had reasonable intelligence but didn't speak other than grunts and was there to improve her physical endurance.
Coach assumed her usual position at my feet next to a stationary bicycle that I was working out on. The teenage came over and sat down on the floor next to Coach. She petted Coach and Coach put her head on the teenager's lap and kissed her as she normally does when doing therapy work. The young girl then uttered "I love you" to Coach. The whole place came to a sudden stop and silence prevailed. She said it again and tears began to flow. THE POWER OF A LEO IS LIMITLESS.
as told by John McCrae
Now read about Vikakhn in Newton - as submitted by Vic Neumann - The Therapist at the End of the Leash