#020: Children’s hospital Therapy Dog team Michelle and Buffy

by | February 7, 2022 | Therapy Dog Talk

Children's hospital Therapy Dog team Michelle and Buffy

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a Children’s hospital Therapy Dog team and a Pet Partners evaluator?

If so, then this is definitely the episode for you.

In this 20th episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I chat with Michelle and her nine-year-old Golden Retriever, Buffy, about their incredible journey as a Children’s hospital Therapy Dog team since 2014 and Michelle’s experiences as a Pet Partners evaluator. Buffy, named after the vampire slayer, truly has a heart of gold and cares deeply for everyone she meets.

We dive into the challenges they faced during Buffy’s adolescence and how a therapy training course helped them get back on track. Michelle opens up about the mindset she adopted to reduce stress and pressure on Buffy, allowing them both to grow and excel in their work together.

Our conversation also covers the different skills required for the Pet Partners test, how a dog’s performance can vary over time, and the importance of enjoying the work as a therapy dog team. Michelle offers valuable advice for those interested in starting therapy work with their dogs, from choosing where to volunteer to the significance of taking group classes to improve focus.

As a Pet Partners evaluator, Michelle shares her rewarding experiences watching therapy dog teams develop their skills and succeed in their evaluations. She also reveals how therapy work has made her more of a people person, emphasizing the profound impact this line of work can have on both humans and dogs.

By the end of this episode, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the dedication, resilience, and love that goes into being a Children’s hospital Therapy Dog team and a Pet Partners evaluator, as well as practical advice for embarking on your own therapy dog journey.

In this episode, we discuss …

  • Why she thought Buffy would enjoy being a Therapy Dog.
  • How your dog’s temperament impacts where you volunteer.
  • What it was like to become a Pet Partners evaluator.

Key moments you won’t want to miss:

  • [00:33] Discover the secret to keeping your dog focused during virtual visits.
  • [03:00] Learn the difference between theory and practice in Therapy Dog work.
  • [05:40] Explore Michelle and Buffy’s volunteer work at a Children’s hospital and a retirement home.
  • [06:42] Understand the impact of adolescence on their training journey.
  • [07:17] Get a glimpse of Buffy’s first Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test experience.
  • [07:52] See how Michelle changed her mindset to help Buffy succeed.
  • [08:41] Find out the difference between Complex and Predictable skills in the Pet Partners test.
  • [11:16] Discover Michelle’s recommended training options for getting started in therapy work.
  • [12:34] Realize the importance of group classes for teaching your dog to focus.
  • [17:14] Hear about Michelle’s experience as a Pet Partners evaluator and the rewards of the job.

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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