My therapy dog Danny and I recently visited Care One in a town not too far away. Care One facilities are probably our favorite since everyone is always so welcoming! The staff ADORE pet therapy visits and there is always one staff member who takes us around the facility. The residents and their visiting family members scoop Danny right up (luckily he doesn’t mind) and cuddle him or put him on their laps. Unlike Merry Heart, when we visit Care One we go room-to-room. We don’t meet in a common room or two and usually there is no show-down of all his fancy tricks, but somehow there’s extra love in each visit. Or so I think. I’d ask Danny how he feels, but he’s just as happy licking every stranger’s face.
Pet therapy bound! (Notice the nifty bandana?)
Also, even more recently, Dannydog and I went to Merry Heart again. As usual we visited the third floor Alzheimer’s unit first and then the other meeting area for residents who aren’t as sick. Upstairs we were greeted by a staff member who cuddled Danny for a bit. Then I went around the circle letting everybody who wanted to pet the dog. Quick aside–One of the ladies told me I had nice teeth :D. Anyway, this time downstairs there was a nice crowd. Naturally, Danny performed all of his fancy tricks–including hide-and-seek of a mini water bottle! <– crowd favorite.
I have a feeling this might be our last visit for a while as school starts up again soon however, Danny and I will still be doing everything we can to spread smiles and raise awareness for dogs that heal!
Danny is very excited because he knows that we’re working on introducing a new facility to the Creature Comfort Pet Therapy volunteer visitation schedule! I’m trying to incorporate one of two special needs children’s schools into our calendar for volunteer teams to sign up to visit.
Pet therapy is an amazing program that has been proven to improve the mood, performance, and sense of community among volunteer teams, facility staff, patients/clients, and their families. If you know of a facility that can benefit from it, don’t hesitate to suggest it or contact me!
Today Danny and I visited the Care One senior living place. This was by far my favorite visit we’ve ever been on.
Everybody was exceptionally kind and grateful for our appearance: the residents, family members of the residents, and the staff! They were all such dog-people and enjoyed every minute we were there. The facility was a legit hotel-like place and each resident’s room was personal and they sometimes had a roommate! There was even an old married couple who got a personal show of Danny’s tricks.
The activities director showed us around and we visited the main lobby, the Alzheimer’s area, some residents in their rooms, a more-progressed Alzheimer’s unit, more residents rooms, and then waved a final goodbye to everyone in the lobby as we walked out the door. This visit took much longer because we had so many people to visit and spent quality time with each patient. Even most of the staff we passed by stopped with huge smiles to greet Dannyboy (: Overall — super successful!
This place I would visit any chance I could get!
This just goes to show how much places like these need all other pet therapy volunteers to get up and visit them because they’re just sitting there waiting for some smiles to be spread by dogs who heal!
Today my dog Danny and I visited Eastern Star senior living place for the first time. The rain and traffic was a bit of a downer and I could tell Dannyboy was upset that I didn’t bring a coat for him, but he warmed up to the facility quickly! This time, we actually got to go into peoples’ rooms and visit them as well as those in the hallway. Almost all were in wheelchairs and I held Danny up for them to pet. They were especially happy to see me and talk to me. My mom, who has to come with me because I’m a junior handler, spoke to the activities director who said I have a real way with patients. That made me smile, and I know I made them all smile!
Today we spread smiles, but if you know of any facilities who would appreciate pet therapy, don’t hesitate to ask me how to get that set up/train your dog yourself! I’m spreading awareness, but also promoting the idea of pet therapy so this is what I’m all about!
Our next facility visit is Friday! (and then Saturday)
The leaders of Creature Comfort Pet Therapy (CCPT) told me that I can’t ever do visitations in nearby hospitals because of Danny’s slight dog aggression 😦 It’s not his fault that his previous owners never taught him to play nicely with other doggies!
Feeling slightly discouraged because that’s the place that I was hoping to really enjoy visiting, but we’ll just keep visiting nursing homes. Danny is so great with kids that I’m dying to have him in a setting where he can spread some smiles to the little ones, so my eyes are peeled for children-oriented visitations on our CCPT calendar that take place after I get home from school/when I’m not working at my local job.
Oh, well! Tonight we’re off to a different senior care place in Bridgewater. Hopefully it’ll go well!
While I’m spreading smiles with my dog that heals tonight, you should check out CCPT’s website and (1) bring pet therapy to your facility, (2) train your dog to be a therapy dog, and/or (3) spread the word about just how much healing and soothing can happen by introducing a dog to a facility!
Got these ID’s and tshirt/bandana the other day in the mail!
Danny and I completed our final step in the Creature Comfort Pet Therapy certification process—the mentor visit!
This morning I got up and got everything together for our very first visit. I put a towel, paper towels, a water bottle, a doggie water bowl, treats, hand sanitizer, and a doggie brush in a large tote bag with a copy of his vaccination records. I bought some Nature’s Miracle spray in case Danny made a mess (which he didn’t, of course).
We met an experienced CCPT handler at the door to Merry Heart Senior Living so that she could mentor me on my first therapy visit. We signed in and went to the “Bistro” gathering space downstairs where about a dozen seniors–most in wheelchairs–were hanging out. Some were even playing Wii bowling on the TV! I scooped Danny up and we went from wheelchair to wheelchair (unless the patient was avoiding us) and I bent down next to each patient and even let Danny sit on one lady’s lap!
Upstairs, we went to the Alzheimer’s floor where the seniors have memory problems. There were about two dozen patients up here and some were sleeping and most repeated their questions to me a few times, which was kind of sad. But it made them all very happy and we’re spreading some smiles quite easily!
My arms are tired from holding Danny for almost an hour, even though he’s only ten pounds!
My mom said the nursing home was very lucky to have Danny to pet and me to talk to (: Oh, and now Danny and I can do visits on our own to accredited facilities!
Thanks for reading, and spread the word of how helpful therapy dogs are!