Monday, May 19, 2008

Therapy Dog

All dog lovers know that dogs are great stress relievers. I think that it's because we give unconditional love. This is perhaps the reason why dogs are such great therapists!

Wikepidia defines therapy dog as "a dog trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, mental institutions, schools and and stressful situations such as disaster areas. The concept of a therapy dog is often attributed to Elaine Smith, an American who worked as a registered nurse for a time in England. Smith noticed how well patients responded to visits by a certain chaplain and his canine companion, a Golden Retriever. Upon returning to the United States in 1976, Smith started a program for training dogs to visit institutions. Over the years other health care professionals have noticed the therapeutic effect of animal companionship, such as relieving stress, lowering blood pressure, and raising spirits, and the demand for therapy dogs continues to grow. In recent years, therapy dogs have been enlisted to help children overcome speech and emotional disorders. .."

If you are interested to know more about Therapy Dogs, check out Therapy Dogs International, Inc.

Whilst I am not a qualified therapy dog, I did play a small role recently. Most of you may recall how stressful examinations can be (It's been a while for me. The last exam I sat for the Canine Good Citizen Test six years ago!). Well, a two-legged buddy of mine, Nerissa was pretty stressed during her A-levels exam. Since she hasn't been able to see her own four-legged pal for a while, her mum thought that I would be an excellent stress-reliever from the pressure of exams. We started the session with a couple of tricks (I do tricks for treats...). First off, the classic roll over.
Reward please... Notice my intense look as I wait eagerly for Nerissa to give me my reward.
Next trick. Shake paw, Kess.
Reward please, Nerissa.

And just to proof that I can do the roll-over trick both ways...

We finish off the session with a good tummy rub by Nerissa and her mum.

It was worth it to see the smile on Nerissa's face and hear her joyful laugh as she played with me. I was happy that I was able to take her mind off the stress of exams for a while. It was therapy for me too...Food and tummy rub therapy!


Joanna said...

Kess, indeed my four legged buddy who offered 'relief therapy' at the right time =D absolutely love those pictures (saved em all). -Nerissa-

Kess And Her Mama said...

Hi Nerissa,
Come by for relief therapy anytime.

Sweet Jasmine said...

Hi, Kess ....chatting with you over here also makes you one of my stress reliever....thks to you
Love all yr pics with yr two legged buddy are a clever dog indeed..doing roll overs and paw shake....Cheers.

Kess And Her Mama said...

Hi Sweet Jasmine, Thanks for the compliment. You're one of my nicest on-line buddies. I always get hungry when I see the yummy food on your blog.:-)

Xsara and Tani said...

We are considering attending a seminar on dog-therapy and maybe get involved more in this field. If we can fit it into our busy schedule, we'd be proud to do dog-therapy.

As far as your request is concerned, of course you can incorporate our views into your post. If you have any questions regarding our training methods, I'd be glad to answer.

As I said, I really enjoy reading your blog and learning about other people's views on my favorite subject (dog training). Very well done!

Kess And Her Mama said...

Cheers to Xsara and Barby. If you gals do go into dog therapy, please share on your blog. Unfortunately in Malaysia, due to the major ethnic group's religious prohibition, dogs aren't allowed in many public places, like hospitals, etc. As such, there is limited scope for dog therapy.

Thanks for allowing me to share your views and experiences. We're not dog training experts but we enjoy discovering and testing the principles.

i said...

Hi Kess, thanks for dropping by! I'll say you sure make a good therapist. Can I send LS to you for some stress relief some time?

Amber-Mae said...

WE'RE BACK!!!We three are no therapy dogs but we have visited a Disabled People's Home last year. It was great & the mentally & physically challenged people are the most bootiful people you'll ever meet on earth! They were sooo gentle with us, they stroked us & even hugged us. One mentally challenged boy even brought me for a walk & I never pulled surprisingly coz I usually do when my hoomans walk me. All in all, they are such loverly people & we were very well behaved & never begged for food from them when they had their din dins.

Love licks,
Solid Gold Dancer

Kess And Her Mama said...

Hi Happy, Happy you came by my blog ( corny). You can send LS over anytime. But, hey, I think you'll probably be her no.1 stress reliever unless of course you've been up to some naughty tricks. In that case, send her over :-)

Kess And Her Mama said...

Wow Amber, what a lovely thing to do for the less fortunate. You gals must have truly made their day. Your human must be so proud of your good behaviour. Three cheers for Amber, Chloe and Faith!

Thanks for signing my guest book.