Katee enjoys volunteering at Phoenix Children’s Hospital with her Maltese Therapy Dogs Coco and Cici.

In this 55th episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I chat with Katee and her two charming Maltese therapy dogs, Coco and Cici, about their incredible volunteer journey at Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH). We focus on their experiences working together as a team and the impact they’ve made on the lives of the children they visit.

Katee shares how she started volunteering at PCH as a therapy animal escort before deciding to register her own dogs through Pet Partners. The unique personalities of Coco and Cici, along with their Maltese temperament, made them a perfect fit for therapy work. Throughout their time at PCH, Katee and her dogs have brought joy and healing to countless children and their families.

We also discuss the importance of asking questions and being prepared before diving into therapy dog work. Katee emphasizes the value of knowing what to expect, understanding your dog’s needs, and considering the environment in which you’ll be volunteering.

Towards the end of our conversation, we touch on the challenges of going virtual during the pandemic and how Katee, Coco, and Cici adapted to continue making a difference at PCH. We also delve into the significance of titer testing for therapy dogs and how not all organizations accept them in place of annual vaccines.

After listening to this heartwarming episode, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the joys and challenges of volunteering with therapy dogs and walk away with valuable insights on how to prepare yourself and your furry companion for this rewarding work.

In this episode, we discuss …

  • Why Katee began volunteering as an escort for other therapy animal teams.
  • What she and her dogs enjoy the most about volunteering together.
  • What questions you might want to ask before getting started.

Key moments you won’t want to miss:

  • [01:30] Katee tells us how to tell her two adorable Maltese dogs, Coco and Cici, apart.

  • [02:12] Learn how Katee started volunteering at Phoenix Children’s Hospital as a therapy animal escort before registering her own dogs.

  • [04:36] Discover how Coco and Cici had different responses to training and what that looked like for each of them.

  • [05:22] Katee shares what it was about Coco’s personality that made her realize she would be perfect for therapy work.

  • [06:38] Hear how parents have shared the positive impact Coco and Cici have had on their children during their time at the hospital.

  • [07:50] Find out how Katee, Coco, and Cici adapted to virtual visits during the pandemic and continued helping kids at PCH.

  • [08:33] Learn about Coco’s favorite trick called “Sit Pretty,” which she loves to perform for the children at the hospital.

  • [09:17] Katee emphasizes that becoming a therapy dog team takes effort, but it’s well worth it in the end.

  • [10:37] Before starting her therapy dog journey, Katee made sure to ask lots of questions to be prepared and know what to expect.

  • [11:30] We discuss the importance of titer testing for therapy dogs and how not all organizations accept them in place of annual vaccines.

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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