Troupe Member of the Month - Pam Tolemy and Beau
Pam has been a dedicated member of the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe since 2015. Her canine partner is “Beau” an American Staffordshire Terrier mix. Pam and “Beau” have volunteered at many different locations over the past four years but veterans hold a special place in Pam’s heart. She and “Beau” are faithful visitors at Hines Veterans Administration Hospital on the medical rehabilitation unit, blind rehabilitation, inpatient Psychiatry and Fisher House for families of hospitalized veterans.
Here is what Pam has to say about and her PAWSItive Therapy Troupe experiences:
Beau and I have been a Pet Partners therapy team for four years. We do several visits a month at Hines VA Hospital. Our favorite places to visit are the Fisher house and the psychiatric unit. Beau has some special friends at the Fisher house we visit with. He enjoys the psychiatric unit since there is a wonderful group of people to visit with. He also loves seeing his favorite nurse!
Beau craves attention from people and wants to be everyone's friend. His friendly attitude and cute smile are definitely assets on visits.
He's also a bit of a show off and will salute the people we visit. He knows it amuses them.“
On behalf of all of us in the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe, thank YOU Pam 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.