Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Therapy Dogs

Carina visiting children during a Christmas Party

The primary objective of the Therapy Dog and handler is to provide comfort and companionship by sharing the dog with patients in hospitals, nursing homes and other institutions and wherever else the Therapy Dog is needed.

This is done in a way that increases emotional well being, promotes healing, and improves the quality of life for the people being visited and the staff that cares for these people.

Therapy Dogs International, Inc. (TDI) is a volunteer organization dedicated to regulating, testing and registration of therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers for the purpose of visiting nursing homes, hospitals, other institutions and wherever else therapy dogs are needed.

What are the requirements for joining TDI?

To belong to Therapy Dog International, Inc., all dogs must be tested and evaluated by a Certified TDI Evaluator. A dog must be a minimum of one (1) year of age and have a sound temperament. Each dog must pass a temperament evaluation for suitability to become a Therapy Dog, which includes the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Test (CGC). The test will also include the evaluation of the dog’s behavior around people with the use of some type of service equipment (wheelchairs, crutches, etc.).Before getting started, you should know what we are looking for in a TDI Dog.

A Therapy Dog is born, not made. Yes, one can teach a dog mannerly behavior, but one cannot change a dog's inherent temperament. When a dog is put under stress, poor or marginal temperament will surface. Therefore: What are we looking for?

A Therapy Dog must have an outstanding temperament. This means that the dog should be outgoing and friendly to all people; men, women, and children. The dog should be tolerant of other dogs (of both genders) and non-aggressive toward other pets. Before you consider having your dog evaluated, you should ask yourself if your dog has these qualities.

The dogs bring sparkle to a sterile day, provide a lively subject for conversation and rekindle old memories of previously owned pets.

For more information visit the Therapy Dog International website, or contact Robin Crocker at Telling Tales Dog Training in Fryeburg ME.

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