Inspired by his dog Winston, John set out to create his own pet therapy program Moments with Win.

In this 44th episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I spoke with John about his journey through the Pet Assisted Therapy Certificate program at Providence College that led to creating his own pet therapy program, Moments with Win. What started out as neighborhood walks with his puppy, Winston, became a mission to find more ways to spread joy in his community. Now John and Winston are a credentialed team through Windwalker Humane Coalition for Professional Pet Assisted Therapy.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to create your own pet therapy program, John is generous enough to walk us through his full three course experience as well as learnings from their internship. Peppered throughout this episode, are many examples of how John has seen his dog Winston bring joy to those they meet which has allowed them to create meaningful experiences in their community.

John recently brought home a new puppy, Finley, that he’s hoping 3-year-old Winston will help him to train. If Finley enjoys people the way that his big brother Winston does, there may be room for an expansion in the program! Either way, John has learned that training requires patience and perseverance and that it’s all about the journey.

You won’t want to miss John’s genuine spirit as he shares his experiences, so let’s dive in:

In this episode, we discuss …

  • How John created his own Therapy Dog program—Moments with Win.
  • What it was like to go through the pet assisted therapy certification program at Providence College.
  • How Winston is helping to train their new puppy Finley.

 

Key moments you won’t want to miss:

  • [02:02] John reflects on how walking around the neighborhood with his new puppy Winston led to looking for ways to share the joy with more people and ultimately finding out about pet therapy programs.
  • [04:15] John shares that his goal is to share dog love on a broader scale through community events.
  • [05:02] The program that John found helps participants to find natural ways to promote joy with their pets.
  • [05:27] John walk us through the Pet Assisted Therapy Certificate program he recently completed through Providence College including his internship at the Windwalker Humane Society of Rhode Island.
  • [06:00] John describes how he created his program Moments with Win as part of his certificate program.
  • [06:50] How some behaviors show up when volunteering with Winston that didn’t show up in temperament testing.
  • [07:34] John describes their experience working with a Licensed Clinical Socal Worker at their internship at Elmhurst Rehabilitation in Roger Williams Medical Center to create meaningful experiences for patients.
  • [08:17] How John went around to local organizations and events to prevent his proposal for Moments with Win to see where else they can get involved with their mission to spread joy.
  • [10:11] We discuss the potential for Finley’s future and if there’s a possibility for Moments with Win to become Moments with Win and Fin as well as what it’s like to train a new puppy alongside 3-year-old Winston.
  • [11:19] John reflects on how he learned alot about what it really means to be patient while training Winston and how life is really designed to be more about learning how to enjoy the journey.
  • [12:02] Having a puppy has helped John to break the ice while putting himself out there and meeting new people.
  • [12:19] Meeting a dog can be a different experience for each person based on their own life experiences and John’s program prepared him to be mindful of meeting people where they are.
  • [13:54] John’s goal to get more involved in community events in their area—including farmers markets, community driven organizations, parks and recreation programs—as well as working with children and at colleges.
  • [14:52] What Winston does to let John know that he’s done or needs a break.
  • [15:52] The responsibility we have to advocate for our dogs and to intervent for them when they need us to.
  • [17:02] If you find pet therapy to be interesting to you, John’s advice is to go for it!
  • [17:30] The power of using social media to document Therapy Dog work to share the opportunities with others.

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

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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.

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