April 11th is Dog Therapy Appreciation Day! Man’s Best Friend has had many different jobs over the years. However, one that has made a huge difference to countless people is that of therapy dog. A local Bourne, MA vet offers some information on this below.
Unlike service dogs, therapy dogs aren’t trained to perform specific tasks. Fido’s official job is to offer comfort, cuddles, and emotional support. Some of the things a therapy dog may do would include visiting patients at hospitals or hospices, working with a child that is learning to read, or helping calm people that are having anxiety attacks.
The tasks therapy dogs perform are quite different from the work service dogs do. Service dogs’ jobs are often highly specialized, and are crucial to helping people function independently. It’s also important to point out that therapy dogs do not get the same protections as service dogs.
Any pooch can technically qualify as a therapy dog. However, some of the breeds that are most likely to be found working as therapy dogs are Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Greyhounds Standard Poodles, German Shepherds, and Border Collies. Many smaller pups also make the cut, including the Beagle and the Cavalier King Charles. Of course, breed isn’t really the issue here: it’s more about Fido’s temperament. Therapy dogs must always be friendly, calm, and polite, and must behave properly in any place or situation.
There are many organizations that work with training and certification of therapy dogs. If you want to help them out, consider making a donation to one of them. The AKC has a helpful list here.
Fido doesn’t have to be officially certified to offer comfort and support to his humans on bad days. Man’s Best Friend has a special way of sensing when his best friend is feeling down, and offering help in his own way. For instance, many of our canine pals sense when their owners are sad, and stick closer to them than usual. Your pup may also put a paw on your leg. As Josh Billings said, “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
Please contact us with any questions or concerns about your pet’s health or care. As your Bourne, MA vet, we’re here to help!