Tuesday, August 11, 2015
What is a therapy dog?
A therapy dog is trained to provide comfort and affection. Many are pets who have been trained to follow their owners to nursing home, hospices, retirement homes, and hospitals. Some even live in a facility. Others have been trained to provide stress relief at airports, or to give comfort during disasters.
There are many examples of disasters where therapy dogs and their handlers have worked around the clock to provide relief to rescue workers and those affected by the disaster. The 9-11 tragedy is probably the most known - over three hundred dogs were present.
There are three basic kinds of therapy dogs:
Therapeutic visitation dogs visit hospitals, nursing homes, and other places where a visiting dog can comfort and motivate people. These are often volunteers.
Animal assisted therapy dogs assist therapists with physical and occupational therapy. They often work in rehabilitation facilities.
Facility therapy dogs live in a facility, often a nursing home, and are trained to help patients with Alzheimer’s and similar.
An important difference between therapy dogs and assistance dogs is that therapy dogs and their handlers are not currently covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. This means that their presence is dependent on the good will of business owners and similar.
~ Maria Sadowski ~