Have you every wondered if your dog could cut it as a pet therapy volunteer? Some time at a doggie daycare (like Dingo’s Dogsitting: www.dingosdogsitting.com) may help answer this question for you. To be clear, a pet therapy dog and a service dog serve different needs. A service dog assists one person who may have a physical disability or mental condition, whereas a pet therapy dog provides many people therapy by means of physical contact and a variety of other interactions.
A therapy dog and his handler typically visit people in senior centers, hospitals, and schools. Depending on the level of comfort between the dog and his “patient”, the interaction may be as simple as a quick pet or nuzzle, or as intimate as the dog lying in bed with a person receiving medical care or someone who may be otherwise bed-ridden due to age and poor health. Medical studies have shown that pet therapy is proven to provide positive results both physiologically and psychologically for hospital patients and children with intellectual or developmental delays (https://www.uclahealth.org/PAC/Pages/about-us/animal-assisted-therapy-research-findings.aspx)
Visits to a facility can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. Many times, there will be several pet therapy teams working in the same facility at overlapping times, which leads to several dogs working within close proximity with one another. As such, therapy dogs must have a calm and submissive demeanor and be copacetic with humans and dogs alike.
Is pet therapy something you’d like to explore for your dog? If so it is important to expose your dog to new dogs, people, and environments regularly. Regular doggy daycare visits can help with this.
To schedule a “meet and greet” at our Beverly facility or for any other questions about the ways in which doggy daycare can benefit your dog, contact us: 617-590-3721!