why therapy dogs are happy dogs
Therapy dogs work wonders for people of all ages, who require assistance for a variety of reasons. These dogs undergo strict training to ensure they have the desired skills and qualities to become integrated into society and fulfil their new role. Have you ever wondered why therapy dogs are so happy? They greatly enrich the lives of those who they work with, but dogs also gain from this. Read on to find out more on what being a therapy dog means, how important it truly is, and how this changes a dog’s life as well as the humans.
By Emily Roach, Paws in Work guest blogger.
what is a therapy dog.
A therapy dog, also known as an assistance dog, provides support to their owners or multiple people as part of their services and are given expert training to become fully-fledged therapy dogs, just like the dogs at our affiliate, Support Dogs. For example, therapy dogs may permanently live with someone who has a condition which limits their abilities to carry-out everyday tasks. Some dogs are trained to detect when their owners are low in blood sugar, which can lead to seizures; this is a lifesaving skill that dogs can learn which will bring someone much-needed reassurance to go about their daily lives. They’ll alert their owners by showing a specific signal to express their concern. Therapy dogs aren’t just to aid people physically, but also emotionally.
Therapy Dogs visit schools, hospitals, and permanently reside with people who may need aid for anxiety and stress, both short-term and long-term. Some dogs are trained to help people who live with autism and offer safety and consistency through changes of environment or difficult situations which may be triggering.
the benefits to humans.
Therapy dogs benefit humans in an array of ways, creating a positive impact on their lives. They can bring back a new lease of life and confidence to people who have been deprived of being able to perform certain tasks or leave their homes, whether this is physically or mentally. People living with therapy dogs are given extra safety and security knowing that they have their dog by their side, should they need assistance in certain situations. Therapy dogs offer unconditional devotion and love, and overall improve the mood and life of the person / people they help.
the benefits to dogs.
Not only do people benefit from therapy dogs, but the dogs themselves do too! Being a therapy dog gives the dogs a sense of purpose, they like to work hard and are rewarded by plenty of affection from the humans around them. A lot of therapy dogs are rescue dogs who could’ve had a difficult start in life; they are given the chance to develop their skills to incorporate into a loving home. This additionally gives them the chance to have a fresh start in life, with the stability and guidance they deserve. We work alongside a fantastic facility where 1 in 4 of the dogs that they take in are rescue dogs; you can visit their page to find out more about the incredible work they do.
tinkerbell and charli.
This is a real-life example of how even the smallest of dogs can make a huge impact on someone’s life. Tinkerbell is one of the many tremendous dogs who was trained by Support Dogs; here is an insight into how Tinkerbell supports Charli.
Charli has experienced a lot of hardship recently, through the loss of family members and her previous support dog due to illness. Charli was diagnosed with a genetic condition which unfortunately progressed to the point that her promising career in TV was compromised and led to her feeling lonely and depressed. Some symptoms of Charli’s condition include chronic fatigue, with painful joints and hyper-mobility.
This is when Charli needed help more than ever, and that help arrived in the form of a bubbly Lhasa-Apso, named Tinkerbell, who was trained by Support Dogs. Charli wanted a small dog to suit her lifestyle, as she lives in an apartment in Central London, so she needed a dog who could help her retrieve objects when Charli is unable to do so. Tinkerbell may be little, but she helps Charli massively, as she has learnt to pick up keys, fetch Charli’s telephone if she needs it, opens and closes doors and even brings her the post! As well as physically assisting Charli, Tinkerbell has helped Charli through some of her darkest moments and when she felt isolated - particularly through lockdown. Tinkerbell has changed Charli’s life in so many ways and they have formed a special bond because of it. Charli no-longer feels she must rely on other people, as she has a new-found confidence, all thanks to Tinkerbell. You can read about Charli and Tinkerbell’s wonderful story in further detail here, along with several inspirational impact stories.
how to support a therapy dog.
You can support therapy dogs just like Tinkerbell by sponsoring them on a monthly basis, this applies to puppies who are undergoing their therapy dog training. Donating is also a great help; whether you make a one-off or regular donations, you are helping a person or family in the future who will be counting on a wonderful dog to become part of their family. Charities just like Support Dogs solely rely on donations to function, which is why every donation will potentially change someone’s life.
Retirement is a natural part of the process for therapy dogs; as they can’t spend their whole lives working, even though it’s fun and stimulating for them! Most therapy dogs from established training facilities and charities will retire at around 10 years of age. This occurs overtime as the person or people who the dog is working for still need to receive assistance. This helps them to gradually welcome a new support dog into their lives, whilst their current support dog will slowly be relieved of their duties and can enjoy a relaxing retirement.
Some dogs may not be able to retire within the household they’ve been working in, if this is the case, they will be rehomed where they will receive all the attention and fuss they need! If you want to rehome a retired therapy dog who works at Support Dogs, you can contact them regarding an application.
so why are they happy?
It’s clear that therapy dogs are crucial for helping people live fulfilled lives with their furry friend by their side. Therapy dogs are happy dogs because they simply enjoy what they do; learning new skills, working with people and of course, being rewarded with lots of treats and cuddles!
We’re proud to say that many of the puppies we work with grow up to become therapy dogs and change people’s lives for the better. Are you interested in becoming a breeder partner with us? Would you like your puppies to achieve the same? If so, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more. We look forward to working with you!