Four dog handlers and one cat handler started their journey to become Pet Partner therapy teams.
The Workshop took place at a local health facility and the group spent eight hours learning how to be responsible volunteers and advocates for their animals.
One topic that resonated the most was how to determine if your animal is stressed and how to handle it. Learning to read your pet is critical and the team discussed all the ways in which your animal signals distress.
Another popular topic was blocking and positioning … how to insure your pet’s safety while interacting with the people you are there for.
The group spent several hours reviewing policies and procedures, best practices, what their goals are and then they got to do some role playing. They reviewed the various types of populations and facilities, where they thought they as the human end of the leash as well as their pet would do best.
One little dog “volunteered” to be the demonstration dog. Only registered Pet Partner animals can be the Workshop participants so Kirby had a full day ahead of him. Everyone enjoyed learning how to work with him as they all have small dogs and one small cat! Watch the leash, watch the dog, watch where you are placing him, watch if he is comfortable – so much to do at one time! All the while making conversation and enjoying the time spent with new people.
We also had one Love Dog team with a larger dog join us to demonstrate handling of a big dog.
One gentleman said it all when he said “What is great about Kirbs over other therapy dogs is he just IS. He is relaxed and I know he really wants to be here with me. He doesn’t have to do tricks or show how obedient he is. He just IS the most comforting presence in my room.”
The next step for these Pet Partners hopefuls is to schedule their Evaluations … and then begin their new careers out in the field.
One participant summed up the day this way: “I knew my dog would be a fabulous therapy dog and I knew others would be drawn to her. Today I realized how much these dogs mean to so many … we get back more than we give, but what we give is so special.”
For more articles about Delta Pet Partners and animal assisted therapy visit http://http://www.examiner.com/therapy-dogs-in-las-vegas/sue-grundfest