I began taking Sophie, my golden retriever, to Tradewinds Elementary School last year as part of the Pawsitive Reading Program. We are members of Share-A-Pet, a Pet-Assisted Therapy Program. We visit second grade classes twice a week and work with students that have a difficult time reading.
Sophie and I really love going to Tradewinds. Everyone is so welcoming from the front office, to the kids in the hallway, to the wonderful kids we read with. Sophie welcomes everyone with such enthusiasm and then settles down to listen. Her obedience training really prepared her for her role as a therapy dog. Being able to walk nicely in the hallways, lie down and stay when told to do so and having an amazing auto-sit when she meets new people really makes our experience enjoyable. Working in the school with Sophie has been an incredibly rewarding and fun experience for both of us.
A Dog’s Best Friend has been involved in Therapy Dog Training since 1999, when we were asked to rebuild the Therapy Dog Program at the Humane Society of Broward County. Tim’s Samoyed, Harry, was the first therapy dog in the program, and used by the director of the program when she did therapy dog visits. Tim and Siobhan’s Border Collie, Kalie, was also a therapy dog, and visited nursing homes for years. Since then, we have trained many therapy dogs, and at least half of our existing Master’s Class is a certified Therapy Dog.
There are many different Therapy Dog Programs available to the general public, but all of them require your dog to be trained to a high level. Call us if you have any questions on which program is right for you, and whether or not your dog would make a good candidate.