Troupe Member of the Month - Liz Mishima and Daisy
Liz has been a dedicated member of the Pawsitive Therapy Troupe since 2017. Her canine partners have been “Duke”, a German Shepherd mix and “Daisy” a seven-year-old female Leonberger. Liz retired Duke in 2019 when it became apparent that his arthritis was worsening. That is when Daisy took over as Liz’s therapy dog. Liz and Daisy enjoy helping elementary school students practice their reading skills in the “Read With Me” programs. They also love bringing some needed stress relief at final exam times at local high schools and Wheaton College.
Here is what Liz has to say about Daisy and their PAWSItive Therapy Troupe experiences:
“Daisy is a seven-year-old Leonberger. The AKC breed standard mentions that this breed is well suited for therapy work. Her calm and gentle nature does make her a perfect dog for therapy work and especially for the reading programs. When Daisy was younger, she participated in agility and trick training. She loves showing off her trick skills for the students at Wheaton College. During this past pandemic year, Daisy has been enjoying long walks with her family members.”
On behalf of all of us in the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe, thank YOU Liz, Duke and Daisy for your 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.