Golden Retriever Therapy Dogs
Golden Retriever Therapy dogs bring joy to the lives of hurting and lonely people through their loving touch and quiet presence. These trained service dogs visit various facilities.
Everywhere they go, they offer comfort and companionship. They draw smiles from those in pain, and encourage mobility in the disabled. They bring comfort to the sad and lonely.
Being able to stroke a soft, warm, loving dog can provide the key that opens the door to communication for elderly people.
Sometimes these folks haven’t spoken in years, and they suddenly start talking while they pet the dog. It’s incredibly rewarding to see what a difference these lovely dogs can make in people’s lives.
Where Do Therapy Dogs Visit?
In recent years, these special dogs have become popular visitors in such places as:
- Retirement homes.
- Nursing homes.
- Senior centers.
- Rehabilitation centers.
- Assisted living facilities.
- Homeless shelters.
- Correctional facilities.
Wherever they visit, the dog and his handler move quietly from room to room.
They offer each person a few minutes of company and friendship. A dog may simply rest his head on a patient’s bed. For those who feel too sick to talk and laugh, he offers silent consolation. These gentle dogs are especially comforting to sick children.
The kids are scared because they don’t understand what’s happening to them. Being able to pet a friendly dog helps them be less fearful, if only for a little while.
Some patients never say a word to anyone, but will allow a dog to lay his head on their lap and look up as they stare at each other. Such patients are often drawn out of their depression and talk to the medical staff later, the topic of conversation being the dog that came to call.
These special dogs are understanding and patient with autistic children. And they’re great listeners, too, and help schoolchildren gain confidence and skill in reading aloud. They comfort the bereaved and frightened after disasters such as earthquakes, fires and bombings. They also help calm down people who were hurt in a crime.
Some courtrooms allow these gentle dogs to sit beside frightened children as they testify, soothing their fears and giving them courage.
Which Breeds Make The Best Therapy Dogs?
Golden Retriever Therapy Dogs are a favorite because of their friendly personalities and willingness to please. So, they seem to have it all: expressive eyes, and a loving, gentle nature. Their beautiful, soft coats seem to invite hands to touch and stroke.
Given the right personality and training, any dog can join these ranks. But the Golden Retriever is a master at “working a crowd.” He has a way of making each person feel like he or she is the most important person in the room!
Goldens who like to nudge you for attention or rest their head in your lap are wonderful at bringing shy patients out of their shells.
What Are the Requirements For Golden Retriever Therapy Dogs?
These special Golden Retriever Therapy dogs must be outgoing, friendly and people-oriented. They need to interact with frail, debilitated, and disabled patients with gentleness and care. They also need to be calm enough to work in surroundings that are often crowded and confusing. They must courageously deal with strange equipment, noises and scents on a regular basis.
Golden RetrieverTherapy dogs must be forgiving of rough handling, as many patients may not know how to interact with a dog or may have a disability that prevents them from patting a dog gently.
Golden Retriever Therapy Dogs Training and Certification
These special dogs must not only possess the right temperament, they must also have extensive training and social skills with other dogs and people in order to be useful partners in the visiting therapy teams.
There are several therapy dog organizations that certify dogs as suitable for this special line of work. The best known of these are the Delta Society, Therapy Dogs Inc., and Therapy Dogs International.
Certification allows your dog access to the insurance coverage required by many facilities. There are also small local groups that organize therapy dog visits. You can usually find them by networking through your local dog club or veterinarian.
Requirements For Therapy Dog Programs.
Requirements are not the same for all therapy dog programs. But there are a few particular qualities they all look for. The dogs must be able to do the following:
- Walk nicely on a leash without pulling.
- Be good with children and accept rough handling.
- Be able to ignore other dogs.
- Be able to tolerate being petted by a group of people.
- Know how to Sit, Down, Stay, and Leave it.
- Be able to greet a stranger without jumping, barking, or pawing.
- Not show any aggression or fearfulness to other dogs or people.
Also they are often required to go through special training programs to make sure their behavior will not upset the people they’re visiting. You can check with the facility you want to visit, to see if they offer or require such a training program for pets and owners.
Consequently, the use of pet therapy is continuously rising in popularity, for excellent reasons. Medical studies and clinical research show that pet therapy not only makes people happier and less lonely, but also provides medical benefits such as lower blood pressure and reduced stress levels.
Finally, today, tens of thousands of certified Golden Retriever therapy dogs work in the United States, bringing comfort and cheer wherever they go.