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Working Dog Handout - drafting and weight pull
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OFA vs. PennHip
Supplements and Medications at Home
How to Treat Hot Spots
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Insights from Christine Zink, PhD, DVM
How much should
Greater Swiss Health
P2Y12: What it doesn't mean
Insights from Christine Zink, Phd, DVM
How to Research Dog Show
Danger of Fake Service Dogs
How to Transport a Puppy
Greater Swiss Facebook
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Raw Diet and Other Recipes
How Restaurants can Impress Patrons with Service Dogs
Things you didn't know about being a
Therapy Dog Handler.
many Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are in the US?
How many Lowchens
are in the US?
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America
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This photo was taken in the dark.
When I got my ďMouseĒ 12 years ago, I knew that doing therapy dog was on our
bucket list. His mother was a therapy dog, and he certainly inherited those
genes from her. I just layered on the training and socialization. Once Mouse
retired from competitive sports, he officially started his therapy dog career.
Prior to then, he made frequent appearances at events as a breed and sports
ambassador, thus he was accustomed to and enjoyed large crowds.
His therapy dog test went well, and he started visiting an assisted living
facility, schools, libraries, and eventually healthcare facilities. On our
animal assisted therapy journey, Iíve learned quite a bit about what it is like
being a handler for a dog in demand, and Iím going to share them with you.
sometimes wears costumes to work. It's a unicorn.
You will never be as popular as your dog. In fact, people donít care about
They only care about your dog. Mouse has gone through three thousand
business cards in three years. Iím pretty sure that many people donít even
know my name. Iím just the doggie chauffeur.
Your dogís social calendar puts yours to shame.
For real. He gets more invites to events and media requests than I do.
You spent a great deal of time washing your dog. It
really helps with seasonal allergies. You also do frequent exams of your dog
during baths so youíre more aware of things like hot spots, lumps, scrapes,
or anything going on with the eyes and ears. My life pretty much revolves
around washing my dog. My dog doesnít have allergies anymore, and my hands
are really dry.
Add 30 minutes to both ends of your visits.
It often takes 30 minutes to get somewhere, and then to leave. Before you
get to your destination, be assured that a small crowd will be following you
so that you move towards your destination at about 5 feet per 10 minutes.
Sometimes you work with people who are in situations that you canít even
imagine. When you see kids with cancer enjoying the simple things in life,
you canít complain about minor inconveniences to yours.
Live life to its fullest.
Those less fortunate than you are doing it.
Sometimes your dog is the highlight of someoneís day.
When youíre stuck in a hospital bed with no companionship, a friendly face
is just the thing that can cheer you up. Donít take for granted that other
people are just a phone call away. Things can certainly get lonely in a
hospital bed. And certainly donít take your dog for granted.
Being a handler forces you to be a good mood and in a supportive role.
Not only are you there to offer emotional support to the patients, but very
much so the medical staff. They need cheering up as much as the patients.
You are there to bring joy so you just gotta be happy even when you are
Sometimes you have to play a bigger role in acting as a distraction
for family members receiving bad news. Sometimes you play a big role of
distracting a patient who is being uncooperative. It isnít always easy
to be in those roles and still put on a cheery face.
Sometimes you see people at their worst and weakest, and they bare their
souls to you even though you are a total stranger.
You learn to be really compassionate and understanding. It isnít uncommon to
be the friend who is there to someone you just met.
In addition to supporting people,
you need to be supportive of your dog.
When we do events with larger groups, you have to be aware of the safety of
your dog. Sometimes people will try to feed your dog prohibited foods or
ďrideĒ on your dog. It is your job to watch out for those of those
I often get many questions about the process and training of becoming a
therapy dog team.
Make sure you have trainers and resources you can direct people to so they
can get involved in animal assisted therapy.
Sometimes people will tell you that they want a service dog so
you have to be very clear that a therapy dog is NOT a
It is also frowned upon to fake a reason for needing a service animal.
Faking a disability is really offensive and hurtful to those who do need
a service dog. Here's a
trendy article on some real jobs service dogs do.
pretty much his favorite position.
like my hat?
a dog down.
a nurse down with him.