Therapy Dog Part 1 - the driving force
When folks find out that my pup, Faya, and I are a registered therapy dog team, they always ask how we went about getting registered. So, I thought this series of blog posts could share our experiences. This first post is about why we decided to pursue therapy dog work.
Faya is such a sweet dog and adores people, particularly kids. Her favorite command has always been, "go say hi!" If she sees kids at the park, she'll pull towards them because she so very much wants to interact with them. We were once walking in the park during a festival and I wouldn't let her walk over to a family sitting in the grass. She plopped her butt down and looked over her shoulder while wagging her nub of a tail with the hopes that the kids would come over to pet her.
We realized pretty early on that she would respond to facial expressions of emotion. We could make a sad face and act like we were about to cry, and she'd cock her head and come over to us. Once, an actor on TV began crying and she got up from the couch and stood right in front of the TV showing concern.
Perhaps the final push towards exploring therapy dog registration was when a stranger asked to engage with her, she happily complied, and then he commented that he'd been having a really bad day and petting Faya really turned things around. I realized at that point I really should do more with her and that we'd likely both benefit from service and sharing her sweet demeanor with more people.
What makes Faya a good therapy dog? She loves people like you wouldn't believe. She makes friends everywhere we go, whether it's on rock climbing trips or even out to get coffee. She's so eager to meet people and actually prefers humans to other dogs. She's generally quite calm, even though she started therapy dog work at about a year and a half old.
Back-to-school night isn't just for kids and their parents! Faya joined for the school where she works at.