Children reading to dogs is the newest area in which
therapy dogs are being used.
 
Which Dogs Can Come In?
Assistance Dogs & Therapy Dogs  

Girl reading to collie at La Mesa Library, California.

Books had instant replay
long before televised sports.
Bern Williams

Therapy dogs, on the other hand, provide emotional comfort and support. Although an assistance dog can be a therapy dog, a therapy dog is not the same as an assistance dog and is not automatically allowed access to all the places an assistance dog can enter. Although therapy dogs are specially evaluated, trained, and registered for their volunteer work, they do not undergo the extensive specialized and unique training required of guide dogs, hearing dogs, and service dogs.

Calm therapy dog listens to 3-year-old child read to him.

Jasper is calm enough
for this 3-year-old to read to him.

Some of the areas therapy dogs are becoming a common sight include the following:

  • Nursing homes, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers: A welcome change in routine, the dogs boost patients’ spirits, encourage interaction such as petting and talking, and provide a distraction from pain and infirmity.

  • Correctional centers: When the dogs visit young offenders, sometimes they’re offering the only positive reinforcement, kindness, and unconditional acceptance in a young person’s life.

  • Libraries, schools, and bookstores: Therapy dogs are helping children develop their literacy and reading confidence skills by listening in a nonjudgmental way and smiling with a wagging tail.

  • Traumatic events: Grief therapy dogs provide tremendous emotional support to both the emergency response crews and survivors of disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes. Their affection
    and comfort has been especially appreciated
    following school shootings and the terrorist attacks
    of September 11, 2001.

 

Most people are familiar with dogs that have been specially trained to provide assistance to persons with disabilities. Partnering with an assistance dog not only helps the handler achieve a greater level of freedom and independence but also fosters a unique and extremely close bond between them.

Portuguese Water Dog has earned her AKC Pet Therapy Title

Catie, a Portuguese Water Dog, earned
her AKC Pet Therapy title when
she was just 2-1/2 years old.

Perhaps the best-known type of assistance dogs are the guide dogs that assist blind and visually impaired people by avoiding obstacles, stopping at curbs and steps, and negotiating traffic. The person gives directional commands, while the dog ensures that person's safety even if this requires disobeying an unsafe command.

Hearing dogs assist deaf and hard of hearing individuals by alerting them to a variety of household sounds such as someone calling out a name, a doorbell or knock on the door, an alarm clock buzzing, an oven timer’s beep, a telephone ringing, a baby’s cry, or a smoke alarm going off. These dogs are trained to make physical contact and lead their deaf partners to the source of the sound.

Service dogs assist physically disabled people by picking up and bringing objects that are out of their reach. Among other tasks, these dogs also pull wheelchairs, open and close doors, turn light switches on and off, bark for alert, find another person, and help persons who are a bit unsteady on their feet to walk by providing balance and counterbalance.

____________________ 

Golden Retriever therapy dog visits patient.

The day is brighter after
a visit with a therapy dog like Gunnar.

     
 
 
 
 

WHY LET THE DOGS IN?

WHERE ARE THE DOGS?

THE MORE YOU KNOW...

TIP O' THE TAIL

THEIR TAILS WAG FOREVER

JUST FOR FUN

LIBRARY DOGS PHOTO ALBUM

SPEAK!

WAGGING TAILS BOOKSTORE

Here are some books that tell about dogs that have jobs. Dogs help people by working in many different places.

Click on any title to read a brief description of the book as well as covenient ordering information.