Training Dog Lovers and Their Dogs
My dogs and I are available to visit and provide comfort to the patients in various facilities. Ideally, a gathering of patients/clients can get together for an hour or so and simply relax with, pet or play with the dogs. The comfort that can be provided to patients is immeasurable. Patients who are unable to see their own dogs find a lot of comfort playing with and petting friendly dogs. Structured therapy dog visits to individual patients can be brief and impersonal. Timing does not usually allow a bond to build between a patient and a dog. My dogs are happy to sit and bond with individuals at their own unhurried pace and that means a lot to someone who needs that.
Please contact me if you or your facility are/is interested in discussing this great opportunity further.
To whom it may concern,
Katie McKenzie has asked me to write about the work that she and her dogs do for us at Conifer Park, and I am happy to do so! In September, 2014, Katie helped me begin an Animal Assisted Therapy program. She started out bringing her dogs in once a week, and it was quickly determined to have them come twice a week because the response from the patients was overwhelmingly positive. She and her dogs have become an integral part of our Activities Program over the past three years. She and her dogs come in the afternoon from 1:30 – 4:30, during our rehab patients’ Activities times. The patients are then free to play, pet, sit /lay with the dogs as they wish. Many times during nice weather, the patients can take the dogs outside for a walk as well. During the holidays the dogs carry backpacks filled with candy, and they travel onto the units to spread some “holiday cheer”.
What strikes me the most is the response the patients have when they walk into the area and see the dogs for the first time. Seeing the faces light up when they see the dogs has been very rewarding, because I know that whatever they were dealing with before that has been momentarily taken away. Many have shared about how much having a dog to play with and pet has been such an added benefit to their treatment stay. They look forward to seeing the dogs every Tuesday and Friday, and Katie provides those who want to keep up with them after treatment a card with her YouTube channel.
Patients are also able to take advantage of Katie’s expertise. During their visits, many patients will talk to her about their own animals and ask her advice on caring for their pets and training tips. Many of the staff has also been able to seek out Katie when they have questions or concerns and need some advice. The patients find Katie easy to talk to and very knowledgeable.
-Activities Director, Abagail Bernard