Troupe Member of the Month - Keller and Scout
Ken has been a dedicated member of the Pawsitive Therapy Troupe since 2019. His canine partner is Scout, a 5-year-old Cockapoo. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ken and Scout enjoyed helping elementary school students practice their reading skills in the “Read With Me” programs. They also loved visiting staff at Loyola University Medical Center. As we slowly begin to emerge from the pandemic this spring, some of our Troupe facilities are beginning to invite the therapy dogs back. Ken and Scout brought some needed stress relief to Wheaton College students in March of 2021 during their “Stay at Home” spring break week. At the end of April 2021, Loyola celebrated National Therapy Animal Day by bringing the Troupe therapy dogs back for health care staff. After a year filled with so much stress, doctors, nurses and support staff were SO happy to see them!
Here is what Ken has to say about Scout and their PAWSItive Therapy Troupe experiences:
“Scout is a 5-year-old Cockapoo. Her father was a 10 lb. red miniature poodle, and her mom was a 20 lb. white American cocker spaniel. So, that is where Scout gets her red coloring with some white blotches. Scout’s personality is on the mellow side, but she will show her energetic side when a squeaky ball is around!
Scout and I have made visits to Loyola, Wheaton College and several different grammar schools for the “Read With Me” programs. Each type of visit is rewarding in different ways and I like to mix up the type of visits for the different experiences at each location.
Scout is a gentle soul who wants to please you. She likes visitors and likes the opportunity to greet them and get a pet. She especially is attracted to children and gets excited when she sees a school bus, hoping on getting some pets and a little cuddling!”
On behalf of all of us in the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe, thank YOU Ken and Scout for your 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.