Troupe Member of the Month - Ed Pariser and Otto
Ed has been a dedicated member of the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe since 2009. His Pet Partner is “Otto”, a nine year old rescue Bernese Mountain Dog. Ed and Otto have been faithful visitors throughout Hines VA Hospital and Loyola Medical Center. Here is what Ed has to say about his PAWSitive Therapy Troupe experiences:
“My introduction to Delta/Pet Partners started over 10 years ago with a suggestion from Otto’s puppy class trainer that “he would make a good therapy dog”. After Otto passed his CGC and Delta Pet Partner tests I was looking for opportunities to volunteer with Otto in a pediatric hospital setting. It was suggested by Julie Bereckis that we join PAWSitive Therapy Troupe and volunteer at Loyola. In addition to visiting Loyola Pediatrics, we visit Loyola’s Stritch School of Medical and Neihoff School of Nursing as well as Hines’ ECC, Blind, and Spinal units whenever a therapy team is needed and we are available.
Otto is also part of the “Pet Partner” program at Hephzibah Home in Oak Park, a therapeutic residence for kids 5-12 who stay there up to 2 years, and we are now visiting weekly with our 5th child. The goal of the program is to help the children bond and develop a sense of responsibility for a pet. We really enjoy the opportunity to spend time with kids, usually on outings to the forest preserve, local parks, or some pet-friendly stores in downtown Oak Park. Next month Otto will begin his second school year as a “Read With Me” dog at two Oak Park Elementary schools, visits that are perfect for my “senior” dog.
Being a part of the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe has been wonderful, educational, and fun, and I always wish I could spend more time with the troupe members as well as all of their sweet and amazing dogs.”
On behalf of all of us in the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe, thank YOU Ed 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.
Loyola Celebrates 20 Years of Pet Therapy
For 20 years, the PAWsitive Therapy Troupe has been visiting patients, families and colleagues at Loyola Medicine. These canine caregivers bring 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.