I have always thought that Hunter would make a great therapy dog. I have never met a more loving, friendly and laid-back dog. I’ve seen kids push him, kiss him, back him into a corner and he barely reacts. And since being a therapy dog is much more about personality than obedience or training (although they do need to be under control and obedient), it seemed pretty likely to me that this would be something he would excel in.
And now it’s official! Hunter passed his evaluation and observations in May and became a member of the Alliance for Therapy Dogs last month. As part of the process of being accepted as a member, Hunter had to complete an evaluation by an approved tester, do three observations at a nursing home and I had to do a background check. Being accepted into the Alliance for Therapy Dogs mainly means that Hunter now has insurance through them (in the event something would happen at a therapy dog visit). It also means that as a member of this organization we can be informed of therapy dogs opportunities in the area.
It’s important to do research on which therapy dog organization you want to be a part of, as I learned, since some places only work with certain therapy dog organizations. Alliance for Therapy Dogs came highly recommended to me from several different people and so far it seems like there are a lot of opportunities for therapy work as a member of their organization.
Although schools, nursing homes and hospitals are the most common places for therapy dogs to work, I have seen a lot of other interesting opportunities since becoming a member of the local Cleveland group. There was a request for therapy dogs to attend a memorial service (the deceased woman had asked that there be therapy dogs at her funeral) as well as a request for dogs to attend a trade show.
And, for Hunter’s first therapy dog experience he got to go comfort patients waiting to get Lasik (or other eye surgeries) at Clear Choice Laser in Brecksville. He had a blast! He will be back there again next week bringing joy to people as they wait.