#066: From shelter dog to volunteer Therapy Dog with Leslee and Buddy

by | January 16, 2023 | Therapy Dog Talk

Therapy Dog Talk - Leslee + Buddy

Leslee has a lot to share when it comes from selecting and training a shelter dog to be a volunteer Therapy Dog.

In this 66th episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I chat with Leslee and her senior rescue dog, Buddy. We talk about how they started doing therapy dog work and how it has changed their lives. Through Alliance of Therapy Dogs, they’ve visited places like libraries, veterans’ homes, and blood drives.

Leslee tells us how she looked for the right rescue dog to become a therapy dog. She explains that it’s important to find a dog with the right personality and behavior for this job. She shares useful tips like finding the shelter workers’ favorite dog and asking about dogs used for behavior tests.

We also talk about how to train and certify therapy dogs without spending a lot of money. Leslee mentions a helpful YouTube channel called Dogs That, by Susan Garrett. She says that therapy work is really rewarding for the dogs, the people they help, and the people who handle the dogs.

During our talk, we discuss the need to set limits and do what’s best for both the person and the dog. Leslee tells us how she learned to stand up for herself and Buddy by knowing their comfort zones and limits in different therapy situations.

By the end of this episode, you’ll have a better understanding of the benefits and challenges of volunteering with a therapy dog. You’ll also get helpful advice on training, certification, and finding the perfect rescue dog for this amazing work.

In this episode, we discuss …

  • How Leslee’s journey began with her first Therapy Dog—a doxie named Teddy.
  • What she looked for in finding a dog who would be the right fit for her home as well as for Therapy Dog work.
  • How volunteering with her dogs has been fulfilling in many areas of her life.

Key moments you won’t want to miss:

  • [01:12] Leslee introduces herself and talks about her experience with therapy dogs, starting with her first one, Teddy.
  • [03:00] Leslee and Teddy went to assisted living places to give residents company and make them feel better.
  • [04:30] Leslee tells us about losing Teddy to a sudden sickness and how sad she felt afterward.
  • [07:18] Leslee talks about adopting Buddy, a new therapy dog, from an animal shelter.
  • [08:58] Leslee says it’s important to find a dog that matches your needs, like their energy and personality.
  • [12:13] Leslee gives two helpful tips for finding a therapy dog at a shelter: find the workers’ favorite dog and look for dogs used to test other dogs’ personalities.
  • [13:32] Buddy has been on four therapy visits, like reading times at the library, going to a veterans’ home, and a blood drive.
  • [14:36] Leslee joined a therapy dog group called Pause for Love, which helps volunteers feel supported.
  • [18:02] Leslee says training a therapy dog doesn’t have to cost a lot or be stressful, and you can do it yourself.
  • [20:29] Leslee talks about how therapy dog work has made her life better, like getting exercise, growing as a person, helping others, and saving a 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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