How did you discover the role of Therapy Dog?
I had a friend who got an Emotional Support Animal so I saw the benefits of animals with mental health. Once I got accepted into my [Masters in Social Work] program, one of my professors—he works with that organization that had the crisis response dogs so he told me about Therapy Dogs. I was like, “Wait, I can use a dog in my career? I love dogs.”
In this fourth episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I interviewed Maddie of @social_work_therapy_dog who shared:
- Her plans for Jovie to work with her in Animal Assisted Social Work.
- How she discovered she could work with dogs in her mental health career.
- The importance of the dog enjoying therapy work and why Millie wouldn’t.
- How she found, selected, and trained Jovie and how she funded it through her company @millie_girl_merch.
- Her experience working with crisis response dogs through @hopeaacr and how they differ from therapy dogs.
Why will you enjoy being a Therapy Dog team?
In the certicate program I did, we had to run our own groups with some of the crisis response dogs. The group that we worked with were teenage boys that have a criminal background and that’s a tough group to work with. They definitely did not want to open up to a young woman—why would they? They didn’t know me. But having the dog there, by the end of it they were raising their hand to participate. They were excited about the dogs and asking questions. Just seeing the benefit it can bring is so rewarding.
I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I do. Give it a listen and let me know 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.
What advice you have for a future Therapy Dog?
Definitely research and look into different testing that the breeder can do or the rescue can do. It has to be the right fit and personality type for the dog—you can’t just force them to do therapy work. You want to make sure that the dog is actually going to enjoy it before you get the dog or before you decide, “I want to try and pursue Therapy Dog work.”