OUR EPI'S AS THERAPY DOGS

 

Ina's Lucy


Lucy in her official Delta Society vest

Lucy, our four-year-old epi pug girl, received her original Delta Society certification as a therapy dog when she was two years old, about seven months after her first definite seizure. She has visited a retirement center and the shopping mall during the Christmas season (the dogs are wonderful stress relievers to all the people shopping, and it is a great time to tell them about the joys of visiting people in need) to name just a few.
Shortly after September 11th, Lucy and I flew to the Pug National Specialty, and ended up spending many hours in the Denver airport. Lucy enjoyed letting people cuddle and pet her, and got many people smiling, just seeing her ride around in her snuggle sack, strapped to my chest. She's also visited a nursing home, and worked as a neutral dog to help other animals get their certification.

Lucy has matured so much since we got our original certification in 2000, and I was excited to get her reevaluated in May of 2002 (Delta Society requires that all animals and their handlers get recertified every two years.) Lucy is still a little imp, didn't want to let the evaluator look in her mouth, and thought she would sit with the evaluator who was petting her instead of coming to me when I called, but still, she got recertified one level higher than she did originally.

If you are interested in taking your dog to visit Nursing Homes, or other folks in need of cheering up, Delta Society is a great organization to work with and I highly recommend it. See link below.

 


Cynthia's Bogie


Little Bit and Bogie

Bogie (4 year old neutered epi pug-mix shelter rescue) and his "little sister" Little Bit (4 year old female non-epi chihuahua-pug "Pugs'N Pals" rescue) "asked" to be put to work by going up to people on walks and sitting in front of them with the expectation of being petted. After basic obedience training (both are "couch potatoes," so the main training they needed was to get up!), we qualified with three groups: the Orange County (CA) SCPA "PAWS"; Delta "Pet Partners of Orange County"; and TDI "Therapy Dogs of Southern California." We've done visits to children's homes, Ronald McDonald homes, convalescent homes, and a children's rehab facility. Since Bogie has his seizures at night and never gets stressed about anything except finding food, the visits don't cause him any problem (although I had much higher chiropractic bills until I got a walker and made a seat for him to ride on, instead of lifting his 22 pounds up to each bed!)

Delta and TDI are the two main national organizations evaluating and certifying animals to do visits, either alone or as part of local groups. (Group visits are generally less stressful, since there's not just one dog trying to meet and greet everyone there.)

For more information, contact:
Delta Society - Resources on Human-Animal Interactions, Animal-Assisted Activity


Therapy Dogs International, Inc. http://www.tdi-dog.org

 


Mary Jane's Maggie May


Maggie May is ready for a visit!
6 1/2 year old Beagle - 27 lbs.

After Maggie May was diagnosed with a seizure disorder, she trained for and became a Delta certified Pet Therapy Dog. This involved further obedience training and testing in various group settings and conditions (stress factors). She continues with quarterly continuing education classes and testing for re-certification. Maggie loves visiting patients at a local psychiatric hospital. Although the visits always cheer and benefit the patients, on a recent visit Maggie especially benefited. Maggie had a difficult time with cluster seizures just prior to this visit. After an extended period of rest, I took her to visit some patients. Maggie obviously gained this time! A patient kept saying, "Look, she is smiling at me." Maggie was calm and enjoyed the entire visit. Despite her seizure disorder, Maggie continues to enjoy these activities.
 
Maggie May just passed her Delta re-certification testing. She is looking forward to continuing her hospital visits.

For a picture of Maggie May with her sister, Lily Morena, and more information on Maggie, click here.

Updated 12/02