#095: Hallie and Apgar partner in Animal Assisted Therapy

by | August 7, 2023 | Therapy Dog Talk

Therapy Dog Talk - Hallie + Apgar

Hallie shares what it’s like for Apgar to join her in Animal Assisted Therapy at a Psychiatric Hospital.

In this 95th episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I sit down with Hallie to talk about her adventures with Apgar, a Yellow Labrador who’s made an impressive switch from being a Guide Dog in training to a much-loved Therapy Dog. Their story is all about embracing life’s unexpected twists and using them to positively impact others.

Apgar’s journey from Guide Dog training to therapy work, a change prompted by his medical condition USMI, really shows how versatile and resilient Therapy Dogs can be. This shift has brought out his natural talent for bringing comfort and healing, especially in his work at a forensic psychiatric hospital where his calm presence is a big help.

Hallie highlights what Therapy Dog work is really about – the special bond between a dog and their handler. She shares how getting to know Apgar inside out has been crucial to their success as a team. This deep understanding ensures Apgar is happy and effective in his role, making a real difference in the lives of those they meet.

We also dive into the rewarding, yet challenging world of raising puppies like Apgar for roles that require a lot of skill. Hallie gives us a glimpse into her journey raising puppies with Southeastern Guide Dogs, focusing on the important early stages that shape these dogs’ futures. It’s a genuine peek into the commitment it takes to help each puppy grow and find their purpose.

Wrapping up, Hallie offers a bit of wisdom for anyone thinking about getting into Therapy Dog work: really get to know your dog, value the bond you share, and be ready for whatever comes your way. You can catch up with Hallie and her crew, including Apgar, on Instagram at @Apgars_Buddy_Morris_ to see the love and hard work that goes into training and working with Therapy Dogs.

In this episode, we discuss …

  • How Hallie helped Apgar transition from Guide Dog prospect to Therapy Dog.
  • Why the deep bond between a handler and their Therapy Dog as crucial for successful therapy work.
  • What it’s like to be a puppy raiser for Southeastern Guide Dogs and how you can get involved.

Key moments you won’t want to miss:

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

  • [00:01:05] Hallie introduces Apgar, a Labrador who shifted from guide dog to therapy dog because of his health, and Morris, her new puppy.
  • [00:03:35] Apgar works at a forensic psychiatric hospital and community events, showing his adaptability and gentle nature in therapy work.
  • [00:04:08] Hallie visits her old high school annually with different dogs to educate students about therapy and service dogs.
  • [00:06:34] The contrast between Apgar’s calm therapy style and Buddy’s more active approach is discussed.
  • [00:07:28] Hallie shares stories about Apgar’s ability to connect with and comfort withdrawn individuals.
  • [00:11:50] The significance of Apgar’s medication routine is paralleled with the importance of medication compliance in psychiatric care.
  • [00:14:25] Hallie reflects on adjusting her expectations in working with Apgar as a therapy dog, acknowledging his unique contributions.
  • [00:17:49] Apgar’s enthusiasm for his therapy work is evident as Hallie describes his reactions to preparing for sessions.
  • [00:19:18] A discussion on the suitability of different dog breeds for therapy work emphasizes that individual personality is more significant than breed alone.
  • [00:25:52] Hallie talks about the joys and challenges of raising puppies for Southeastern Guide Dogs and witnessing their development.

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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