Troupe Member of the Month - Deb Jones and Bailey
Deb has been a dedicated member of the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe since 2008. Her beloved Bailey, a 10-year-old Shih Tzu, has been her Pet Partner since she was just two years old. Deb and Bailey work with developmentally challenged adults at the Little Friends Spectrum Vocational Services program in Downers Grove twice each month. They also regularly visit seniors at Arden Courts in Palos Park and veterans at Hines VA Medical Center on the Spinal Cord Injury and Blind Rehab units. Here is what Deb has to say about her PAWSItive Therapy Troupe experiences:
“No matter where we are, Bailey joyfully “struts” into the facility like she owns the place. She makes people smile when she is sassy and she gets bigger smiles when she climbs on their laps and gives them love. Every year Bailey gets better and better at her job.
In addition to therapy work, on three occasions Bailey played the Nutcracker Prince in the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe’s “Canine Version of the Nutcracker”. She is now retired from her Nutcracker role but has learned some new skills--playing the piano and singing! It has been said that my “Baileytoven” doesn’t just play the piano, “SHE PLAYS THE PIANO”. She approaches everything she does with enthusiasm.
We also became a crisis response team with HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response in 2014. We have been deployed three times to Southern Illinois to provide comfort and support for those affected by flooding and tornados. Bailey is a special dog and I feel fortunate to have her in my life. She has not only given comfort to people on our visits, she has been my “therapy dog” too."
On behalf of all of us in the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe, thank you Deb for so many years of devoted service!
The PAWSitive Therapy Troupe is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to sharing registered therapy dogs with individuals in a wide variety of health care and educational settings--bringing comfort, support and encouragement through the unique healing power of the human-animal bond.
What is the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe?
The PAWSitive Therapy Troupe is an Animal-Assisted Activities and Therapy program designed to share registered therapy dogs with patients and students in a variety of health care and educational settings.
Is there a Difference Between a Therapy Dog and a Service Dog?
Yes! Therapy dogs are NOT “service”, or “assistance” dogs. Service dogs include guide dogs for the blind; hearing dogs that alert their owners to sounds; mobility assistance dogs, which may pull a wheelchair or directly support a person; seizure alert dogs; and others like them. Service dogs are covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act. People with disabilities can BY LAW, take their service dogs with them wherever they go, including planes, restaurants, sporting events, etc.
Many people are under the mistaken impression that therapy dogs and their handlers have the same rights of access as people with disabilities and their service animals. Therapy dogs are NOT service dogs. They are NOT allowed to accompany their handlers wherever they go. Therapy dogs are invited into hospitals, nursing homes or schools to work with patients or students on very specific tasks, or simply to bring their unconditional love to the many people who need them in these facilities. Therapy dogs and their handlers have no more rights of access than anyone with a companion animal or pet.
Therapy dogs are always first and foremost beloved family pets. You cannot “buy” a ready made therapy dog. Therapy dogs and their owners, because of their interest in therapy work have undergone additional rigorous training to prepare them to function reliably in health care or educational settings. Therapy dogs live at home with their families when they are not working.
What are Animal-Assisted Activities / Therapy?
Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) share registered therapy dogs with patients or students in a variety of activities such as individual bedside visits, entertaining demonstrations or educational sessions. Animal- Assisted Activities are not necessarily goal-directed, but they are nonetheless certainly therapeutic in nature.
Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) is goal-directed intervention in which a therapy dog is an integral part of the clinical treatment process. It is directed by a licensed health care or education professional with specialized expertise and within the scope of his or her profession. AAT is designed to promote improvement in physical, social, emotional and / or cognitive functioning / reading skills. This process is documented in the health care record by the health care professional or in the education plan by the education professional.