Troupe Member of the Month - Linda Nemeth, Mack, and Helen
Linda has been a dedicated member of the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe since 2008. Her Pet Partners are “Mack”, a 12-year-old black Lab mix and “Helen” a young yellow Lab. Linda and her dogs especially love working with young readers at Brookdale and White Eagle Elementary Schools (Naperville), Tate Woods Elementary School (Lisle) and Westfield Elementary School (Glen Ellyn). Here is what Linda has to say about her PAWSItive Therapy Troupe experiences:
“Mack and Helen both truly love going to school and reading with the kids. When they read to Mack, it is like they are reading to a big stuffed animal. They often use him as a pillow as they lay next to him, making sure he can see the pictures in the books. Mack is the most laid back dog I have ever owned. The little girls love Helen because very often she accessorizes her working attire with feathers and bows on her collar or vest.
The school programs that we attend are run by some outstanding people. It is so heartwarming to see the enthusiasm and pride the teachers and reading specialists have in their kids, as they snuggle up to the dogs and practice reading the books that they have chosen. I truly love all the teachers and their love for this program. But if you were to ask Mack and Helen which school they enjoyed the most, it would be Brookdale Elementary paws down!!!! Arlene Sanders the reading specialist, BAKES dog biscuits each month for them. Yum Yum!!!!
Mack and Helen have also been part of the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe’s “Canine Nutcracker”. Mack has danced in the show twice and Helen once. It was an honor to be part of that and SO much fun. We look forward to being part of the show again in 2018.
I am proud to be part of the Pawsitive Therapy Troupe. Thank you for all the wonderful experiences.”
On behalf of all of us in the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe, thank YOU Linda 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.