A therapy dog is a dog that might be trained to provide affection, comfort and love to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, and are defined but not covered or protected under the Federal Housing Act or Americans with Disabilities act. They also do not have public access rights with exception to the specific places they are visiting and working. Typically the dog would be granted rights by individual facilities only.
The systematic use of therapy dogs is attributed to Elaine Smith, who noticed patients positively responding to visits by a chaplain and his Golden Retriever. In 1976, Smith started a program for training dogs to visit institutions.
Therapy dogs are usually not assistance or service dogs, but can be one or both with some organizations. Many organizations provide evaluation and registration for therapy dogs, sometimes with focus on a particular therapeutic practice such as reading to dogs.
A therapy dog is a dog that might be trained to provide affection, comfort and love to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, and to people with anxiety disorders or autism. Therapy dogs are usually not assistance or service dogs, but can be one or both with some organizations.
In the U.S., therapy dogs are not service animals and are not afforded the same privileges as service animals are.
The systematic use of therapy dogs is attributed to Elaine Smith, who worked as a registered nurse. Smith noticed how well patients responded to visits by a chaplain and his Golden Retriever. In 1976, Smith started a program for training dogs to visit institutions, and the demand for therapy dogs continued to grow.
Therapy dogs are usually not assistance or service dogs, but can be one or both with some organizations. Therapy dogs are not trained to assist specific individuals and do not qualify as service dogs under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Many organizations provide evaluation and registration for therapy dogs. Typical tests might ensure that a dog can handle sudden loud or strange noises; can walk on assorted unfamiliar surfaces comfortably; are not frightened by people with canes, wheelchairs, or unusual styles of walking or moving; get along well with children and with the elderly; and so on. Institutions may invite, limit, or prohibit access by therapy dogs. If allowed, many institutions have rigorous requirements for therapy dogs. United States-based Therapy Dogs International (TDI) bans the use of service dogs in their therapy dog program. Service dogs perform tasks for persons with disabilities and have a legal right to accompany their owners in most areas. In the United States, service dogs are legally protected at the federal level by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
In the United States, some organizations require that a dog pass the equivalent of the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen test and then add further requirements specific to the environments in which the dogs will be working. Other organizations have their own testing requirements. In Canada, St John Ambulance provides therapy dog certification. In the UK, Pets As Therapy (PAT) provides visiting dogs and cats to establishments where pets are otherwise not available. Also in the UK Therapy Dogs Nationwide (TDN) provide visiting dogs to establishments.
At colleges and universities
Some colleges and universities in the US bring therapy dogs to campus to help students de-stress. These campus events are often referred to as "Therapy Fluffies", a term coined by Torrey Trust, the original founder of the UC San Diego therapy dog de-stress event. In 2009, Sharon Franks, shared the idea of bringing therapy dogs to campus with the UC San Diego Office of Student Wellness. Similar events have been held worldwide.
Since the autumn of 2010, "Therapy Fluffies" has visited the UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Riverside campuses during the week before mid-term and final exams. These events give students and staff the opportunity to pet and relax with therapy-certified dogs. The university also works with the Inland Empire Pet Partners—a service of the Humane Society[which?]— to bring therapy-certified dogs to the campus’ Mental Health Day Spa, held quarterly. In 2016, the School Of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University carried out a study assessing the benefits therapy dogs have on students pre exam stress levels. They discovered that by allowing students to interact with visiting therapy dogs on campus before exams for a brief 15 minute interval significantly reduced students perceived exam stress levels. In 2014, Concordia University, Wisconsin became the first university in the US to adopt a full-time therapy dog to its campus in Mequon, WI. The golden retriever, Zoey, is a Lutheran church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog, trained to interact with people at churches, schools, nursing homes, hospitals, events, and in disaster response situations.
Programs such as the Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program to promote literacy and communication skills. The practice uses therapy dogs to encourage children to read aloud by giving them a nonjudgemental listener.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Therapy dogs.|
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