The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Conference was held at the M Resort in Las Vegas this weekend and one of the star sessions was a discussion about animal assisted therapy and the healing power of pets.
Several handlers and dogs from the Love Dog team were there to discuss what it takes to become a Delta Pet Partners team and member of the Love Dogs program and the benefits of animal assisted therapy is a myriad of settings.
The audience was comprised of cancer survivors, their families and health care professionals. Everyone enjoyed hearing the stories from the field and what it takes to reach the Pet Partners standard of excellence.
The dog teams arrived half an hour before the session was to begin and waited outside the conference room. When they entered no one could believe five dogs were outside all that time and there was not one sound!
The discussion included the history of animal assisted therapy, what makes Pet Partners different, what is expected of the handler and animal and the benefits to the client/patient, facility, dog and volunteer.
Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to meet the dogs and owners up close and there were many questions. Some people were surprised to learn that Pet Partners is the only therapy organization that evaluates and registers species other than canines, including cats, gorses, pigs and small pocket pets. They were also surprised to learn it is the only organization that requires re-testing every two years to ensure safety and the continued ability of both the handler and animal.
Several participants live in the Las Vegas area and perhaps they will want to train with their own animal to give back in this way or become volunteers without an animal. We all agreed that … the best way to deal with challenges is to give back — and that way you get back so much more.
Thank you to all of our volunteers for making this a wonderful presentation: Kelly and Bailey, Becki, Lydia and Koda, Leslie and Dash, Krissy, Betty, Ira and George .