Troupe Member of the Month - Tiffany Schafer, Tico and Desi
Tiffany has been a dedicated member of the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe since 2009. Her Pet Partners are “Tico” and “Desi”, both Havanese. Tiffany and her dogs have been faithful visitors on the Hines VA Hospital’s Extended Care (ECC) units. They also enjoy listening to children at the Naperville Public Library’s “Read With Me” program. Tiffany is the Troupe’s Social Media Coordinator. She manages the Troupe’s Facebook page. Here is what TIffany has to say about her PAWSItive Therapy Troupe experiences:
“We visit regularly at Hines VA Hospital in the Extended Care Center and have gone there almost every month for the last 8 years. My husband recently became registered with our dogs as well and we visit together now. It's really a nice visit; the patients look forward to seeing the pups. You wouldn't think that a big, burly ex-Marine would be into a little white fluff ball, but they just melt when “the boys” cozy up to them or showcase their tricks. Havanese, the only native breed of Cuba, were previously used as circus dogs, and “the boys” have a wide repertoire of tricks. Tico in particular excels at tricks and has a Rally Obedience advanced title. Both dogs enjoyed performing in the Canine Nutcracker with the Troupe. We also performed choreographed dances with the Troupe Dancing Paws group as entertainment for senior facilities.
My family is honored to be part of the Troupe and we learn so much from the other teams. We treasure the friendships we've made. I am proud to be part of such a great group and proud to be making a difference with our animals."
On behalf of all of us in the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe, thank YOU Tiffany 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.
PAWSitive Therapy Troupe Featured on PBS's "In the Loop" (May 25, 2017)
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.
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.
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.