The Road to Becoming a Therapy Dog – Halfway There

 D.Lachusa 20

Yesterday Hope and I completed our fifth supervised pet therapy visit with Love on a Leash.

That means we’re halfway to our goal of becoming a certified pet therapy team. Pretty exciting!

Going on visits to a variety of venues has been an interesting experience. For example, Hope seems to really enjoy going to the VA Hospital. In fact, on her very first visit there, she walked in to see her first patient and instinctively put her paws up on the bed to say “hi!” It was as if she knew why she was there.

Contrast that to our latest visit to a center for people with disabilities, which proved to be a little stressful for Hope. It was a busy environment with lots of noise and commotion, any many people milling about and coming up to pet her. While she was a trooper and tolerated the visit very patiently, I could tell it was making her nervous. We may try this center again once Hope gets more experience, but for now I’m going to follow her lead and stick to venues she seems more comfortable in.

She seems to enjoy visiting seniors.

And that really shouldn’t surprise me. After all, it was her interaction with my father after his heart surgery that prompted me to train her for therapy work. Even though she’s still a young pup with lots of energy, when we visited two assisted living facilities she sat patiently with each woman who lived there and let them fawn over and pet her. And she really seemed to enjoy it.

Next week we’ll be re-visiting the senior center we went to on our very first outing.

I’ll be curious to see if she handles it a little more calmly now that she’s been on a few visits (she was a bit anxious her first time there).

We also have plans to visit a library where Hope can let the kids read to her.

I was advised to let Hope try all kinds of venues during her training to find the best fit for her. So that’s what we’re doing. I’m putting my wishes aside as to where I’d like to spend my time volunteering and instead am following her lead. After all, while this is her job, I only want to do it if she enjoys it. It makes no sense to me to do work you don’t enjoy, or simply tolerate. Even if you are a dog.

About Debbie

After spending 32 years in marketing, Debbie now spends her time blogging, teaching online courses, doing volunteer pet therapy, and encouraging others to follow a more inspired path through life.

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