Troupe Member of the Month - Jim Collado and Lucy
Jim has been a member of the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe for the past two years. His canine partner is Lucy, a 5-year-old Bernedoodle. Jim and Lucy have been dedicated volunteers at Loyola University Medical Center and MacNeal hospital. Currently they bring smiles and comfort to medical, nursing, and ancillary support personnel throughout both hospitals several times each month. They also bring stress relief to medical and nursing students at the Stritch School of Medicine and Health Sciences Library. Prior to the COVID pandemic, Jim and Lucy were dedicated visitors on Pediatrics, the Bernadin Cancer Center and On Call visits throughout the Loyola patient care units and on the Hines VA Oncology unit. They loved making learning to read fun at several “Read With Me” visits at local elementary schools.
Here is what Jim has to say about Lucy and their PAWSItive Therapy Troupe experiences:
“Lucy is a 5-year-old Bernedoodle with long curly black hair. Her mom was an 80lb Bernese Mountain dog and her dad was a 65lb Standard Poodle. Lucy has a gentle and laid-back personality, especially with the little ones she meets. She enjoys their spontaneous hugs and kisses and has endless patience with them. She seems to always seek out and have time for kids no matter where we visit. She seems to understand that her size sometimes intimidates the smaller children so she is extra gentle with them and will sometimes just lay down and let them come to her.
Lucy also loved the attention she receives from the medical students and hospital staff during the pandemic visits.
One thing I've noticed working with Lucy and the other dogs in our troupe is how remarkably intuitive these dogs are and seem to always do the right thing in each situation which always amazes the person/persons they are interacting with. It's a pleasure doing what I do and sharing such a special dog.”
On behalf of all of us in the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe, thank YOU Jim and Lucy 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.