#019: New Therapy Dog evaluator Elise and her Aussie Moosh

by | January 31, 2022 | Therapy Dog Talk

New Therapy Dog evaluator Elise and her Aussie Moosh

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to become a new Therapy Dog evaluator for an organization?

In this 19th episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I chat with Elise and her senior Australian Shepherd, Moosh, about their journey as a therapy dog team and Elise’s recent role as a Tester/Observer for Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD). Elise found our podcast and suggested having an evaluator on the show, so I couldn’t resist inviting her and Moosh to join us!

Elise and Moosh have been a therapy dog team for six years, and in our conversation, we discuss their experiences testing with different organizations, the decision to test with a national organization like ATD, and the joys and challenges of becoming a new Therapy Dog evaluator.

We also explore Moosh’s love for group visits at elder care facilities and how Elise ensures he continues to enjoy his work as a Therapy Dog. Elise shares her insights as a T/O, getting invested in each new team’s progress, and the common theme of Therapy Dogs being indifferent to other dogs but eager to see people.

Listening to this episode, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of what it’s like to be a Therapy Dog evaluator and a long-time therapy dog team, as well as valuable insights on how to support your furry friend in this rewarding work. Join me for this heartwarming and informative conversation with Elise and Moosh!

In this episode, we discuss …

  • The mobility of testing with a national Therapy Dog organization.
  • How she finds herself rooting for new teams while testing them.
  • What Moosh loves about being a therapy dog.

Key moments you won’t want to miss:

  • [01:59] Elise shares how her volunteer work with organizations like ElderFriends introduced her to therapy animals and their impact on people.
  • [03:05] Elise and Moosh’s journey of testing with H.A.B.I.T., an organization affiliated with a veterinary school.
  • [03:25] Elise explains her decision to test through a national organization like ATD for greater flexibility if they ever had to move.
  • [04:06] A look into the ATD testing process, which includes a handling test and three observations for new therapy dog teams.
  • [04:53] Elise discusses her experiences as a new Therapy Dog evaluator for Alliance of Therapy Dogs and the challenges she faced.
  • [06:05] Elise highlights how T/Os can provide guidance and watch teams grow as they progress from one observation to another.
  • [06:50] Elise shares her excitement in cheering on new therapy dog teams as they develop and how T/Os become invested in their progress.
  • [08:08] Moosh’s love for visiting elder care facilities in groups and how he knows when it’s time to leave.
  • [09:40] Elise explains what she looks for to ensure Moosh continues enjoying his work as a Therapy Dog.
  • [14:50] A reminder of the importance of making sure the dog truly loves and enjoys their work as a Therapy Dog.

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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