Have you ever wondered what it’s like for an Assistance Dog to volunteer as a Therapy Animal?

In this 27th episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I sat down with Evelyn to hear about her experiences training her Cavalier Indie to be an Assistance Dog for herself as well as a volunteer Therapy Dog through Story Dog Australia.

Assistance Dogs, also known as Service Animals depending on where you’re located in the world, and Therapy Dogs are two very different roles with different access rights and responsibilities. If you need a quick refresher on the two, as well as Emotional Support Animals, check out What’s the difference between a Service Dog, an ESA, and a Therapy Dog?

Evelyn and Indie no longer volunteer through Story Dog Australia a they have recently moved to London; however, they do have plans to continue their volunteer work through Pets as Therapy and shared what that transition will look like.

Their story may remind you a bit of Donna and Zoe, a Therapy Dog team training to be an Allergen Detection Dog, and Jeena and Juno, a Pets as Therapy team that moved from London back home to Korea. So if you like this episode, make sure you add those two to your playlist!

Evelyn and I shared quite a few moments of laughter together, so if you’re ready to hear about their journey, let’s dive in:

In this episode, we discuss …

  • What Evelyn looked for in an Assistance Dog which led her to finding Indie.
  • How impactful a program like Story Dog Australia can be to build confidence in children.
  • What their plans are to continue Therapy Dog work now that they’ve relocated from Australia to London.

Key moments you won’t want to miss:

  • [01:51] Evelyn shares how her family has always been involved with puppy raising and training for Guide Dogs Australia.
  • [03:05] Evelyn reflects on her training with Indie and how she sees it as a bonus to grow their relationship.
  • [03:54] Why Evelyn decided to get a Cavalier after borrowing her friend’s Labrador for a week.
  • [05:00] The difference between researching Cavaliers and experiencing daily life with energetic Indie.
  • [06:00] How important it is to have a safe place for an Assistance Dog to just be themselves.
  • [07:27] What it was like for Evelyn and Indie to volunteer as a Therapy Dog team with Story Dog Australia.
  • [09:14] How Indie’s training as a Service Animal has trained her to detect stress levels and help others feel calm.
  • [10:05] Evelyn’s goal to become a Therapy Dog team through Pets As Therapy so that they can volunteer again.
  • [11:01] Why it’s important to keep the park free of any type of training for Indie.
  • [12:08] How six month old Indie learned on her own to alert Evelyn if a lizard was present.
  • [14:18] What Evelyn enjoyed about volunteering with Story Dog Australia.
  • [15:36] What it is like for Indie to balance being both a Service Dog and a Therapy Dog.
  • [16:35] Indie’s ability to help Evelyn to find her medication in her tote bag.
  • [17:10] Indie’s professional training from Nate’s Dog Training in Australia and how quickly she caught on.
  • [18:06] Evelyn’s advice to prospective handlers to ask questions and to shadow other teams.
  • [18:53] How Indie helped to calm down a little girl and bring a smile to her face.

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!

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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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