Being there is often enough: the greatest therapy dogs are often senior

Kirby is happy on a lap for as long as it takes

Kirby is happy on a lap for as long as it takes

It took over half an hour for this child to reach out to Kirby

It took over half an hour for this child to reach out to Kirby

People often ask if therapy dogs are born or created?

Many dogs can be taught the skills and behaviors needed to be safe, beneficial therapy dogs.

But the greatest are born.

And they develop and grow even better over time.

Kirby even takes a nap with someone sometimes

Kirby even takes a nap with someone sometimes

They have a natural instinct to go towards all people, regardless of age, size, demeanor or capability.They have a natural desire to please.

They have natural patience, perhaps the most critical skill that appears in the very best therapy dogs.

Patience to wait for a moment of clarity or focus or awareness.

Patience to remain in one spot over time, just waiting for that magical connection, be it physical, emotional, spiritual.

Patience to understand that today may not be a good day for someone, but tomorrow promises to be a great day.

Patience to return over and over and over until someone is able to interact with them.

Patience to sit on a lap or by someone’s side for endless periods of time, just being there.

Kirby snuggles in where he can fit

Kirby snuggles in where he can fit

This is why some of the very greatest therapy dogs are seniors.They know what it is like to have failing sight or hearing or physical mobility.

They know it sometimes takes longer to reach out a hand, or paw.

They know that just being by someone’s side, quietly, lovingly, is often enough.

If you have an adult or senior dog, think about becoming a Pet Partner team. It is ever too late to teach a dog the obedience skills required and so often those seniors already have the love factor down pat!