Merin combines her love of traveling with volunteering as a Los Angeles Airport Therapy Dog team with her Poodle Dazu.
In this 12th episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I chat with Merin and her Standard Poodle, Dazu, as we discuss their journey to volunteering at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) with the PUPs program through Alliance of Therapy Dogs. We dive into their unique experiences and the rewarding moments they share.
Merin tells me how she discovered therapy dogs and was drawn to volunteering with the LAX PUPs program. She explains why she decided to get a Standard Poodle and how Dazu’s friendly personality made him a great candidate for therapy dog work.
Throughout their time volunteering at LAX, Merin and Dazu have had many memorable interactions with passengers and airport employees alike. Merin shares some of her favorite moments and highlights the importance of recognizing Dazu’s signals during volunteer sessions to know when it’s time to end the day.
We also discuss the challenges and surprises they’ve encountered on their journey to becoming a successful therapy dog team. Merin emphasizes the essential role of handlers in therapy dog work, from being able to read their dog’s behavior to managing relationships with people they meet during their visits.
As we wrap up our conversation, Merin shares some tips on preparing for therapy dog work, such as using Dazu’s card as a smooth exit strategy during interactions with passengers and the fun of meeting airport employees who collect therapy dog cards.
By the end of this episode, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the joys and challenges of volunteering with a therapy dog, along with valuable insights on how to prepare your furry friend for this fulfilling work.
In this episode, we discuss …
- How Merin discovered Therapy Dogs and why she wanted to volunteer with LAX PUPs.
- Why Merin decided to get a Standard Poodle.
- What it’s like to volunteer as a Therapy Dog team at a major international airport.
Key moments you won’t want to miss:
- [00:45] I chat with Merin about our personal connection as fellow Los Angeles dog moms and introduce her Standard Poodle, Dazu.
- [01:29] Merin shares some funny stories about Dazu’s mischievous behavior, especially with socks and pajamas.
- [02:13] We discuss how Merin first learned about therapy dogs and decided to volunteer with the LAX PUPs program.
- [03:41] Merin talks about the beginning of Dazu’s training and how his friendly temperament made him perfect for therapy dog work.
- [06:36] We delve into the process of becoming a certified therapy dog team and how Merin and Dazu navigated the challenges of the pandemic.
- [08:12] Merin shares her experiences volunteering at LAX with Dazu and how often they visit the airport.
- [09:14] We discuss the importance of recognizing Dazu’s signals during volunteer sessions to know when it’s time to call it a day.
- [10:58] Merin shares her clever strategy of using Dazu’s card to smoothly end interactions with passengers at the airport.
- [11:40] We talk about the fun side of meeting airport employees who collect therapy dog cards and their interest in Dazu.
- [12:42] As we wrap up, Merin discusses the challenges and surprises they’ve encountered on their journey to becoming a successful therapy dog team.
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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