Monday, May 23, 2016

Becoming aTherapy Dog Handler

So I've been asked this question a few times "how did I become interested in becoming a therapy dog handler?"

About 13 years ago I was recovering in Abington Hospital from a surgical procedure. A gentleman popped his head in my room and asked if I was interested in a visit from a therapy dog. Not quite sure what he meant but loving dogs I responded "yes!" He walked in with a gorgeous Greyhound dog who promptly put his head on my bed so I could pet him. I remember my pain disappeared for the quick five minute visit. At the same time he explained his purpose. Therapy dogs provide comfort for the sick. After he left I promised myself if I ever had the opportunity I would find a way to give back to my community and become a therapy dog handler.

Fast forward many years I had just retired from my day job and was taking a writing course at a local school. We were going around the room introducing ourselves. A woman told us her dog had just passed a test and was now certified as a therapy dog. The memory from my encounter with therapy dog at the hospital from years ago came rushing forward in my mind. Wow, that was something I hadn't thought about for many years!  Maggie had just come into my life at that point but I made a decision that day that this would be my next goal.

Maggie would have to mature a bit as Goldendoodles tend to be a little high strung when they are young but with perseverance she did pass the test, and four years later we are going strong as a team!

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