Troupe Member of the Month - Arlene Sanders and Scout
Arlene and Scout joined the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe in the spring of 2020. One month later the Covid shutdown happened, so their visits did not begin until the fall of 2021. Her canine partner is Scout, a long hair, blonde goldendoodle. Scout’s unusual look is a conversion starter which stops strangers on the street to ask what breed she is.
Arlene was a Reading Specialist at Brookdale Elementary in Naperville and organized monthly visits with three dogs to read with the students. The student response was so positive that when Arlene retired, she wanted to train Scout to become a “READ With Me” therapy dog. Arlene had her “Full Circle Moment” when she and Scout started monthly visits at Brookdale Elementary in October 2021 to read with some of her former students! They also visit Compass Preschool in Naperville, Arbor View Elementary in Glen Ellyn, Wheaton College (de-stress programs) and Atria Retirement facility in Bolingbrook. One of their most rewarding visits was comforting students receiving the Covid Vaccine at Kennedy Middle School in Naperville and Park View Elementary in Glen Ellyn.
Here is what Arlene has to say about “Scout” and their PAWSitive Therapy Troupe experiences.
Scout is an active, friendly, loving long-haired Goldendoodle. Her favorite activities are long walks and playing fetch in the park because she is obsessed with her Chuck-it ball. When riding in the car, she hangs her head out the window, and her long hair blows in the breeze. Scout loves getting petted on her back and getting rubbed under her ears. Before going to bed at night, Scout insists on “tummy time” where she jumps on the bed, gets her tummy rubbed, and then jumps off to sleep on her bed on the floor.
Scout loves meeting new people and enjoys her therapy visits. The students enjoy rubbing her back and playing with her long hair. One girl even braided it! Scout becomes excited when she puts on her vest and loves the task ahead. She has proven to be a friend to all. Arlene and Scout were grateful for the mentorship of the members of the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe and have enjoyed the friendships we have made along the way. We look forward to many future visits
On behalf of all of us in the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe, thank YOU Arlene and Scout for your devoted service in these past two challenging years.
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.
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.