Over the next hour, I have two wonderful guest posts on the topic of Animals Helping People: first, the story of a rescue dog turned therapy dog from Petfinder. The second is the story of a volunteer who, along with her therapy dogs, has reached people with disabilities and helped children learn to read for the past 15 years.
All in a Dog’s Work: One Poodle mix goes from throwaway dog to therapy dog
Guest blog by Joan Banks, Happy Tails editor, Petfinder.com
It takes a special pooch to be a therapy dog — and it takes a special person to recognize that dog’s potential. Teagan, a Poodle mix, might have looked like just another homeless dog listed on Petfinder. But when she randomly popped up on Sharon Raugutt’s computer monitor, the Edgeley, N.D., woman saw something that most of us aren’t sensitive to.
“Although I was on the site to look for a rescue that could be trained as a service dog candidate,” Sharon says, “I had also been keeping an eye out for a special dog that I could utilize as a partner for animal-assisted therapy.”
Teagan, who’d been listed on Petfinder by Oreo’s Animal Rescue in Dickinson, N.D., turned out to be perfect for therapy work. “Although Teagan had no training, she was friendly, bold, easygoing, and a fast learner. I immediately became attached to her and she to me,” says Sharon.
Teagan seems to have a sixth sense about what the people she visits at North Dakota State Hospital need. She also seems to enjoy her work as Sharon’s co-counselor. But don’t get the idea that she’s always working: When her day’s work is done, Teagan spends her time at home with Sharon. “I consider myself extremely blessed,” Sharon says. “I look forward to spending many more years with her.”
Teagan’s story shows that homeless dogs aren’t hopeless dogs. They not only offer love and affection, they often far exceed what anyone would expect.
Petfinder lists more than 350,000 adoptable pets at any given time, each of them waiting for a chance to make a difference in someone’s life. If you’re considering adding an animal family member to your home, please visit Petfinder. Your perfect pet may be waiting for you right now.