March 23, 2017

Happy National Puppy Day!

All photos: @shoesdogsandchocolate

Happy National Puppy Day, 2017! The last couple of weeks, I got to work with an amazing team of pet therapy dogs and their handlers. Part of a volunteer service program in Los Angeles, Calif. When asked to go on assignment, I didn't hesitate to say yes! As an avid dog-lover and dog mom (see Bella and Lulu above), I couldn't wait for the opportunity to meet these certified dogs and learn all about what they do and their program.

Pet therapy is a guided interaction between a person (handler) and a trained animal. In this case, it was dogs. The purpose of pet therapy is to help aid in a person's or patient's recovery or help the individual cope with a health problem or mental disorder.

Dogs and cats are most commonly used in pet therapy, however, fish, guinea pigs, horses and other animals that meet the proper criteria can also be used. The type of animal chosen depends on the therapeutic goals of a person’s treatment plan. In this case, this particular healthcare organization, uses dogs as the only source of pet therapy, and I have to tell you, it's pretty darn amazing what these dogs while on duty can provide to the patient's overall well being. Among the many benefits, these were found to be the most common:

  • Reduces stress
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Reduces depression
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Improve social skills
  • Overall mental wellness
The certification process for a human (handler) and the dog takes a year, less if the dog is just that sharp. If you're interested in becoming a certified pet therapy handler, check out these local programs.

Paws4Healing , Bright and Beautiful , Pawsteams

Well wishes to you and don't forget to love on your precious fur babies today and everyday! They need you and rely on you for their livelihood. And in return, they will offer you the most love and loyalty for the rest of their days, than you will ever receive in one lifetime.

Rascal and sweet, therapy dog, Whiskey.

Adorable and loving 10-year-old, pet therapy dog Trevor.

Cutie Goldendoodle pet therapy dog, Atari. 

and precious and fluffy 2-year-old Buddy.