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We all know that people are capable of performing therapy for their fellow human beings who need help to catch up on something like some lessons or get over an emotional trauma, especially if it’s children. But did you know that there are also Therapy Dogs for Children? Yes, and as a matter of fact a dog named Bogie, a Labradoodle mix owned by Robere Keirstead, does reading therapy to help kids to gain their confidence while still at preschool, and in learning their ABCs. Let’s have a look at the following article from Frontenac EMC Lifestyle, about Therapy Dogs for Children.
EMC Lifestyle – Imagine a drug that can lower your blood pressure, improve self-esteem, increase reading skills and improve the survival rate of heart attack and angina patients. Sounds like a miracle drug, right? But it’s for real.
It’s called a dog. Extensive research has found each of the above benefits of dog companionship.
You don’t have to quote the research to Robere Keirstead, whose dog Bogie, a Labradoodle named after Humphrey Bogart, is a certified therapy dog.
Bogie, who turns five years old on Feb. 2, is one very special dog. Bogie and Keirstead work in two local settings. On Monday and Friday, they visit John XXIII Catholic School. They also visit Waterford Retirement Residence. Bogie teaches children that good things can happen in the world. But Bogie’s just passing along what he learned himself.
“Socialization is very important for dogs,” said Keirstead. “You have to teach them that the real world is good.”
That helps them develop confidence and comfort around people and other dogs.
“You also have to teach them good manners,” she said.
Keirstead lives with three dogs and took each of them to puppy kindergarten when they were young.
“I still take them to agility training,” she added.
It’s all part of becoming a professional team.
It’s not easy meeting the standards to become a therapy dog. When Bogie was about 18 months old, he was tested to become a St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dog.
“They’re looking for a dog who has a steady personality,” said Keirstead. “They drop cans behind you to see if the dog startles or runs away. The dogs are also introduced to people on crutches, in wheelchairs and wearing long housecoats.” If anything indicates that the dog does not have a stellar and stable personality, it is not allowed in the program.
Bogie’s first assignment involved visiting Kingston General Hospital. After working as a therapy dog for a year, Bogie became eligible to be tested for certification as a child therapy dog.
Now who says dogs can’t socialize with people and not hurt them? It just adds further proof that a dog is not only truly man’s best friend, but also his comforter. And not to mention, since dogs are very loyal, most of them simply follow suit since they mimic human activity. Let us hope that Bogie and Robere Keirstead will share a long fruitful bond between them in doing their jobs. After all, Bogie is just one of the many Therapy Dogs for Children.
Have you had any personal experiences with therapy dogs? If so, please share them with us below.
Julie Wilson PTsays:
Do you have a “job description” for therapy dogs that you could send to me please? We are likely going to get one for our developmental preschool for children with special needs. I would like to better define what we want him/her to accomplish during his days here at the school working with mulitple children. We will also be selecting a home family for him/her and would like to have suggested criteria for this family. So if you have that kind of information, please send it to me as well
Thank you very much!
Julie Wilson PT