Sunday, May 29, 2011

What Happens After Therapy Dog Prep School?

We've just completed the Spring session of Therapy Dog Prep School.   It's always a great class and I enjoy seeing the dogs and people have fun and learn new skills.   The purpose of TD Prep is to help prepare people and their dogs for testing by national therapy dog programs.  Upon completion of the class many students begin the testing process with a national therapy dog organization.   Once the testing is finished the big question is 'Where do we go to make visits?'    There are so many options and it takes time to find the right fit for handler and dog. 

When I help students find the right placement for their Therapy Dog I encourage them to follow the Who, What, When and Where process. 

Who  do you want to visit?- Determine the age group you would like to visit.  Do you enjoy working with kids, adults, seniors?  You will be most successful and enjoy your visits if you're working with a group of people you feel most comfortable with. 

What type of visits do you want to make? - There are different types of Therapy Dog visits, Animal Assisted Therapy and Animal Assisted Activity.   Do you want to visits patients, participate in the READ Program with children, offer emotional support, participate in physical therapy sessions? 

When is the best time of day for you to visit? -  The day and time that you're available to visit will determine where you will visit with your dog.  

Where do you want to visit? - Do you want to visit hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, libraries, schools?  There are a variety of facilities in need of qualified Therapy Dog Teams.   Finding a facility close to home will make visiting more convenient too. 

I've recently started makig visits with my wonderful girl Faye.  Faye is a graduate of Therapy Dog Prep School and became a registered Therapy Dog in February 2011.   We are visiting the Head Pain Unit at Chelsea Hospital and other facilities in our hometown of Chelsea.       

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