Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Harpo - Therapy Dog/K9 Home Schooling Graduate

Harpo, Mary Ann, and Dwight are starting their third
year and continue to enjoy working as a therapy dog team at Chelsea
Community Hospital. Harpo visits patients in three different areas there: the Head Pain Clinic, the Occupational Therapy Clinic, and the Physical Therapy
clinic. They frequently visit Kentucky, and while there
visit an elderly relative who is a resident at a Retirement and
Rehabilitation facility.

How true it is that patients respond physically to visits by a
therapy dog. I'm sure all therapy dog teams have seen
this phenomenon many times, but it never ceases to delight and amaze
me. Mary Ann and I often talk about one particular patient we
visited who was in bed, in a fetal position, eyes covered, and in
obviously serious pain. She couldn't sit up or even lift her head
from the pillow, but she wanted to have a visit by the dog. The
nurse suggested that we have Harpo hop up in a chair next to her bed,
and the patient began to pet him, still in her fetal position.
Gradually, she perked up, uncovered her eyes, and then sat up. By
the end of a visit of less than 10 minutes, she told the nurse that
she was ready to get up. It was as if a switch had been thrown to
give her energy and to mask at least some of her obvious pain. Amazing.

Harpo is a Lhasa-Poodle mix, 5.5 years old. Harpo began training with K9 Home Schooling 4 years ago. He completed Dog Training Fundamentals-1 & 2, Charm School and Therapy Dog Prep School.

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