#074: Bringing joy to foster youth with Salina and Jedi the Shih Tzu

by | March 13, 2023 | Therapy Dog Talk

Therapy Dog Talk - Salina + Jedi

Salina and her Therapy Dog Jedi the Shih Tzu enjoyed bringing joy to foster youth in New York.

In this 74th episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I sit down with Salina and her lovable Shih Tzu, Jedi, to talk about their heartwarming volunteer work with The Good Dog Foundation in New York. We especially focus on their favorite experiences working with foster youth.

Salina shares how she came across therapy dog work while searching for new ways to enjoy the city with Jedi after moving from San Francisco to New York. Jedi’s friendly nature and Shih Tzu temperament made her a perfect fit for therapy work.

Throughout their volunteer journey, Salina and Jedi visited various places like a bank, Julliard, and childcare services for foster youth. Salina emphasizes the strong ongoing relationships they built with the teens, and how empowering it was for them to walk Jedi and teach her tricks.

We also dive into the important role of handlers in therapy dog work. Handlers need to be trained to notice their dog’s behavior and manage relationships with the people they visit. Salina shares her insights on how she and Jedi would unwind after visits and the importance of bringing treats and toys for engagement.

Towards the end of our conversation, we discuss the challenges of dealing with Jedi’s medical needs and how it affected their volunteer work. Salina reminds us that taking breaks when your furry friend needs it is essential, and that it’s never too late to start volunteering with your pup.

After listening to this episode, you’ll walk away with a deeper understanding of the joys and challenges of volunteering with a therapy dog, as well as valuable insights on how to prepare your four-legged companion for this rewarding work.

In this episode, we discuss …

  • Why a stable temperament is important in therapy dogs.
  • How it can be fun to build ongoing relationships with the people you visit.
  • Why your pup’s well-being is essential for successful therapy visits.

Key moments you won’t want to miss:

Note that the timecodes match the video, not the podcast.

  • [01:35] Salina introduces herself and her therapy dog, Jedi, and talks about their volunteer work with The Good Dog Foundation in New York.
  • [02:30] Salina shares how she discovered therapy dog work after moving to New York and searching for new activities to do with Jedi.
  • [04:24] The importance of a dog’s temperament and predisposition for therapy work is discussed, highlighting Jedi’s Shih Tzu nature.
  • [06:28] Salina appreciates the variety of organizations that The Good Dog Foundation works with, allowing her and Jedi to volunteer in suitable environments.
  • [07:13] Salina discusses her rewarding experiences working with foster youth and building ongoing relationships through weekly visits.
  • [08:15] The importance of establishing a routine for both Salina and Jedi in preparing for therapy visits is emphasized.
  • [09:49] Salina finds fulfillment in witnessing the positive impact of their therapy visits on others.
  • [11:38] The significant role of therapy dog handlers is explored, focusing on observing the dog’s behavior and managing interpersonal relationships.
  • [15:46] Salina talks about the importance of bringing treats, toys, and extra leashes on therapy visits to engage with the people they visit.
  • [20:12] Salina encourages people to consider volunteering as a therapy dog team, emphasizing that it’s never too late to start and that training will provide the necessary tools for success.

I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I do. Give it a watch or a listen and then let me know in the community which part you found the most helpful!

Mentioned in this episode:

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Therapy Dog Talk is a podcast where I interview a different team each week via Instagram Live. If you enjoyed this episode please find us over at Apple, Google, or Spotify and give us a follow after you leave a review.

Do you know someone who would make a great guest? Be sure to reach out and let me know.

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