Certified Animal-Assisted Counseling team Maggie and Dorothy are spreading joy at work and through volunteering.
In this third episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I spoke with Dr. Maggie Dou, a mental health provider in San Antonio, Texas, to hear about her experience becoming an Animal-Assisted Counseling team through Texas State University with her Australian Labradoodle Dorothy. In addition to working together in practice, Dr. Maggie and Dorothy also volunteer together through Alliance of Therapy Dogs and get involved in Operation Sticker Licker with their friend Mika.
When Dr. Maggie’s daughter developed a love for participating in their local Read to a Dog Program, the Therapy Dogs in the program reminded her that her colleague was incorporating a dog into her counseling practice. However, although their family loves dogs, her daughter is allergic so it wasn’t until they discovered that she could interact with Australian Labradoodles that having their own dog became possible.
Since Dr. Maggie’s goal was for Dorothy to work with her in her own private practice, she decided to go with a trainer who had experience with Therapy Dogs. It was crucial for her to start early, find a trainer who uses positive reinforcement, and to take her dog to as many places as she could. Make sure you listen to the full episode, as she generously shared her training and book recommendations for anyone interested in becoming a Therapy Dog team.
Along the journey, Dr. Maggie also became interested in volunteering with Dorothy. She loves the smiles and joy when they visit with people. For her, it’s just pure joy and it’s clear to her that Dorothy loves the interactions as well—creating mutual benefit for everyone who is involved.
If you’re ready to learn more about Dr. Maggie and Dorothy’s journey as an Animal-Assisted Counseling team, let’s dive in:
In this episode, we discuss …
- How Dr. Maggie learned about incorporating dogs into her counseling practice from a colleague.
- What she looked for when selecting Dorothy for their family pet and her animal partner.
- Why she decided to pursue certification through two different organizations.
Key moments you won’t want to miss:
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!
Mentioned in this episode:
- Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD)
- Animal-Assisted Counseling Academy at Texas State University
- Calming Storms Counseling
- Doggie Language: A Dog Lover’s Guide to Understanding Your Best Friend by Lili Chin
- Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right by Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS
- The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs by Patricia B. McConnell, PhD.
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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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