Troupe Members of the Month - Karen Click & Cinnamon & Allie
Karen has been a member of the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe since 2001. She has logged hundreds of hours over the past 15 years as a dedicated volunteer with her Shetland Sheepdogs. She is also our Education Coordinator. Karen’s current Pet Partners are 9-year-old Cinnamon and 10-year-old Allie. They are faithful visitors at a variety of health care facilities, schools and libraries. Here is what Karen has to say about her PAWSItive Therapy Troupe experiences:
“My current Pet Partners are Cinnamon and Allie. They are my 4th and 5th registered therapy dogs. When I began therapy work in 2001 (after retiring from a teaching career) I started with 5-year-old littermates, “Jasper” and Tofino”. In 2008 I added 1-year-old littermates “Nutmeg” and “Cinnamon”. Last year I adopted a senior Sheltie, “Allie”. They have all had their own unique personalities. I have learned so much from training each of them. They have taught me how to “read” my dogs.
Cinnamon and Allie look very much alike, but they have quite different personalities. Cinnamon is wonderful with shy or dog-fearful people. He is also a great example to use with children learning social skills. Allie is calm, interested and loving. She will accept anyone and welcome them into her heart.
One of the things I really like about PAWSitive Therapy Troupe is the variety of visits that we have the opportunity to do. It is very difficult for me to pick my favorites. I enjoy all the “Read With Me” programs at schools. The social skills work with the social worker at Indian Trail School really intrigues me. And, of course, our veterans at Hines VA, where I began my therapy career, will always hold a special spot in my heart.”
On behalf of all of us in the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe, thank you Karen for so many years of devoted service. You are an integral part of our success!
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.