Monday, April 12, 2010

Therapy Dog Visits

SSD Midge is back from California, where she was bred to a dog from Canine Companions for Independence. It will be a week or so before we find out whether Midge will be a mother, but in the meantime, she is continuing her work as a therapy dog.

On Wednesday, Midge met with a child with autism for a therapy visit. Our therapy dogs visit classrooms, reading programs, the psychiatric and antepartum units at the hospital, retirement homes and nursing homes, and work with children with autism, pregnant women, people with psychiatric disorders and people with Alzheimer's. Wednesday's visit, however, was a little different than many of the other visits our therapy dogs make. This visit was different because this child and her family have applied for a service dog.

When families apply for a service dog for their child with autism, we want to make sure that a service dog will be beneficial for that child. Families meet with a therapy dog, such as Midge, in four different sessions. Not only do these therapy sessions let the family learn about the realities of a service dog and the ways a dog can support their child, but they also give us the opportunity to learn more about the child's needs. This helps us match the child with a dog.

Working with Midge in the therapy session today brings this child one step closer to receiving a service dog.

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