Therapy Dogs

Are therapy dogs different than service dogs?

To make a long story short, yes, they are vastly different. Therapy dogs and service dogs have different mindsets, training routines, and jobs they perform. This quote explains the main difference, “Therapy dogs have to be at least a year old. What they do is they go in and provide comfort, unconditional love. They help to provide stress relief in different kinds of situations. They’re friendly. A service dog on the other hand provides a service for his owner, or the person to whom he has been assigned. They can be like a seeing eye dog, or a Caring Canines for Independence dog, which will do certain tasks for people. Service dogs are not supposed to be loved and petted. Therapy dogs are different. They want to be loved and petted”(Griset 4). Therapy dogs are not meant to aid in physical things, like seeing, they are meant to help ease stress, help children focus, and stop PTSD attacks, along with other things. The dogs themselves, though, have nearly no differences. This quote from a service and therapy dog trainer shows this, “Service dogs should have all the characteristics of a therapy dog, plus a few others. For example, certain breeds are chosen for specific types of service. In the United States, 60 to 70 percent of all working guide dogs for the blind are Labrador retrievers. Golden retrievers and German shepherds are next in popularity. These dogs are chosen because of their temperament, versatility, size, intelligence, and availability. Guide dogs must be hard workers, large enough to guide people while in harness and small enough to be easily controlled and fit comfortably on public transportation and under restaurant tables”(Petfinder 3). Therapy dogs are vastly different, while being close to the same.

What qualifications do dogs need to gain a therapy dog title?

Most dogs can be therapy dogs, but there are definite features most of them have. Robynne Wood, therapy dog expert and breeder adds, “It comes as numerous studies show interactions with animals, particularly friendly, furry animals like dogs, can decrease stress in humans”(Wood 4). Dogs who are a naturally friendly, fluffy breed, like golden retrievers and labradors, are the best dogs to aid in stress relief. Therapy Dogs International, a group who certify therapy dogs, released this statement, “Therapy dogs come in all breeds, shapes and sizes. They do not just tolerate human contact, they welcome and love it. Therapy dogs are friendly, gentle and remain at ease in many different settings and situations”(Amladi 9). The dogs must remain calm even if their owner or person they are helping is having any type of attack. Overall, therapy dogs have no set features, but some work more than others. These qualities aid in making people’s lives better and easier.

Who needs a therapy dog, and for what?

In a way, almost anyone could be aided by a therapy dog because most of the population is under stress at some point of their day, some more than others. The people who most need and commonly use these furry stress relievers are students at any age, people who have serious mental or physical illnesses, or veterans who suffer from PTSD or any post-war issues. Many schools are taking an approach with the dogs, Logan Knapp, a senior at a high school who frequently uses therapy dogs states, “Anxiety keeps a person from fulfilling their full potential. It makes them think they are not good enough or can’t do something because the anxiety of performing is so overwhelming. This makes it hard to succeed in school. The dogs relieve stress making my work easier”(Knight 3). Logan is only one of many thousands of students whose school work improves once the animals relieve their loaded stress. Veterans also are some on the main recipients of these dogs because, as veteran Matt Moores stated, “It made me feel like I had a purpose,” he said. “It made me feel like I have something that I’m good at and that is doing good. And those are the two things I was missing in my life. To have that back is the best medicine”(Moores 7). Many veterans feel alone or abandoned and the dogs fill that void for the majority. Cancer patients, kids learning to read, and sufferers of mental illnesses also use the services.

Are therapy dogs becoming a more common practice?

Although therapy dogs are not as common as service dogs, they are on the rise. Ms.Benson, a High Potential teacher at eagle creek elementary stated, “She really helps the students learn to read because they enjoy reading to the dog”, in regards to the therapy dog she uses in her classroom. With more and more reasons to use the animals,the more they will be used. Having the students read to the dog is a fairly new practice. Therapy dogs for suffering veterans also are becoming much more common, “Warrior Canine Connection pairs dogs with and they are helping grow the use a lot. Garrison and his wife recently joined dozens at a graduation ceremony”(Siddiqui 4). With dozens of veterans getting dogs at a time, the popularity will rise, meaning the rights these dogs have will as well.

Works Cited

Griset, Rich. "Why therapy dogs are all the rage." Chesterfield Observer. N.p., 18 Jan. 2017. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.

Wood, Robynne. "Bearded Collie Mink gets 'job' at a Wigan college." Wigan Today. Wigan Observer, 25 Jan. 2017. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.

Schulz, Lydia. "Benefits of therapy dogs in the school system." The Wave Breaker. Summerville High, 19 Jan. 2017. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.

SIDDIQUI, FAIZ. "Dog Therapy For Veterans Injured In Mind And Body." Fort Worth Business Press 29.39 (2016): 18-21. EBSCO MegaFILE. Web. 18 Feb. 2017.

"3 Types of Therapy Dogs (Infographic)." 3 Types Of Therapy Dogs (Infographic) | Care2 Healthy Living. Care 2, 23 Oct. 2012. Web. 18 Feb. 2017.

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Leo Lickfold
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Created with images by Ferlinka Borzoi (Deb West) - "Kobold ... 9-11 Therapy Dog" • yuko_ppp2501 - "JULIA" • janoma.cl - "Therapy dog" • Ferlinka Borzoi (Deb West) - "IMG_8049 "Therapy Dog - Please Pet Me" :)" • texas_mustang - "Noah and Truffles the Therapy Dog"

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