Troupe Member of the Month - Amy Read, Buster & Thor
Amy has been a dedicated member of the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe since 2015. Her canine partners are Buster and Thor, both golden retrievers. Amy, Buster and Thor have volunteered at many different locations over the past four years. They are faithful volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House near Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood and at Fisher House on the Hines VA campus. They also are regular visitors at the Villa St Benedict senior community in Lisle and enjoy helping out at special Troupe events.
Here is what Amy has to say about and her PAWSItive Therapy Troupe experiences:
“Buster is a 6 year old golden retriever who has been doing therapy visits since 2015. During regularly scheduled therapy visits and special events he relishes the attention and loves providing comfort to others. One of his favorite assignments is visiting schools - any type of school. He quickly learned that the passing bells ringing in schools meant students were in the hallways and he figured out that if he strategically stood in the middle, they could not help but pay attention to him. The more attention he receives, the better! In addition to being a registered therapy dog with PAWSitive Therapy Troupe, Buster is proud to be a certified HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response Comfort Dog.
Thor recently turned 3 years old and is a crème golden retriever. After working through anxiety due to an injury, he passed his Pet Partners evaluation in 2018. Thor’s favorite visits are to The Ronald McDonald House. It’s common for him to find someone (no matter how big or small) who will allow him to sit on their lap – all 80 pounds of him.
Regardless of the type of therapy visit, both Buster and Thor have a unique ability to connect with people. It’s a joy to be on the end of their leash each and every visit.”
On behalf of all of us in the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe, thank YOU Amy 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.
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.