#101: Nicole and her Paramedic Facility Dog Tanner

by | September 18, 2023 | Therapy Dog Talk

Therapy Dog Talk - Nicole + Tanner

Nicole Selby and K9 Tanner are trailblazing integrating Facility Dogs into paramedicine.

In this 101st episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I chat with with Nicole Selby and her remarkable Community Paramedic Facility Dog, K9 Tanner, who are redefining the boundaries of healing in paramedicine through animal-assisted therapy. Their journey is not just a story of companionship but a pioneering exploration into how dogs like Tanner are becoming indispensable in medical settings.

From Paramedic Partners to Therapy Trailblazers

Nicole opens up about the path that led her and Tanner to each other and how they embarked on a mission to integrate K9 units into paramedicine—a venture that is as groundbreaking as it is nurturing. Tanner isn’t just any dog; he’s a beacon of comfort and connection in environments where traditional medicine meets its limits. With Tanner’s help, Nicole is not just treating patients; she’s touching lives on a deeper, more emotional level.

Decoding the Canine Contributions 

In our chat, Nicole sheds light on the crucial differences among Therapy Dogs, Facility Dogs, and Service Dogs, a distinction that paints a clearer picture of Tanner’s role. Therapy Dogs, she explains, are the heartwarmers—the ones that visit schools, hospitals, and nursing homes to spread joy and offer comfort on a volunteer basis. Facility Dogs like Tanner, on the other hand, are akin to full-time employees, trained extensively to work in specific settings such as medical facilities, where they provide support to multiple individuals under various circumstances. And while Service Dogs are tailored to assist one person with a disability, providing specific tasks, Facility Dogs have the flexibility and training to offer emotional support across a broader spectrum.

A Blueprint for Aspiring Hearts

Nicole doesn’t just share her story; she offers a roadmap for those inspired to follow in her footsteps. She talks about the essence of building a successful partnership with a therapy dog, emphasizing the deep bond necessary between handler and dog. This relationship, built on mutual understanding and respect, is what makes therapy work so rewarding and effective. Nicole’s insights into the preparation, training, and dedication required underscore the commitment behind every therapy dog team’s success.

As we wrap up this episode, it’s clear that Nicole and Tanner’s story is more than just inspirational—it’s a call to action for those who believe in the power of animal-assisted therapy. Their journey illustrates the profound impact that dogs can have in healing and recovery, providing a sense of hope and companionship that complements the human touch.

In this episode, we discuss …

  • How Nicole and Tanner are leading the way in bringing Therapy Dogs into paramedicine, helping patients heal beyond traditional medical methods.
  • The differences between Therapy, Facility, and Service Dogs, focusing on how each plays a unique part in support and care.
  • What Nicole recommends for those interested in starting their journey in animal-assisted therapy.

Key moments you won’t want to miss:

Note that the timecodes match the video, not the podcast.

  • [00:00:49] Nicole’s Leap into Therapy Dog Work: Nicole recounts her early days with her first personal dog, leading to a lifelong journey into therapy dog work and its seamless integration into her paramedic career.
  • [00:07:34] Meet Mika and Facility Dog, Tanner: Nicole introduces her companion Mika and Tanner, her dedicated Facility Dog, sharing insights into their lives and the pivotal roles they play in her work and personal life.
  • [00:10:05] Unraveling Therapy vs. Facility Dog Roles: Nicole clarifies the distinct roles and training between therapy dogs and facility dogs like Tanner, underscoring their unique contributions to health and well-being.
  • [00:17:00] Pioneering Paramedic K9 Units: Highlighting a groundbreaking initiative, Nicole talks about the integration of K9 units like Tanner in paramedicine, a novel approach to enhancing holistic patient care.
  • [00:19:06] Transformative Patient Experience: A heartwarming account of a patient’s remarkable response to Tanner, showcasing the profound impact facility dogs can have on recovery and emotional well-being.
  • [00:24:26] Spreading the Word to Medical Professionals: Nicole shares her excitement about educating the medical community on the benefits of K9 units through her upcoming keynote presentation, aiming to bridge traditional and innovative care methods.
  • [00:25:56] Guidance for Aspiring Therapy Dog Handlers: Offering valuable advice, Nicole speaks to those interested in therapy dog work, emphasizing the importance of deep understanding and connection between the handler and the dog.
  • [00:30:45] Essential Commands for Dog-Human Interaction: Nicole discusses the crucial training commands that ensure safe and positive interactions between therapy dogs and the people they assist.
  • [00:32:41] Emphasizing Consent in Dog Interactions: A significant highlight on teaching and respecting consent when engaging with therapy dogs, ensuring a safe environment for both dogs and individuals.
  • [00:34:52] Following Nicole and Tanner’s Journey: An open invitation for listeners to follow Nicole and Tanner’s inspiring work on social media, providing a window into the impactful world of therapy and facility dogs.

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!

Mentioned in this episode:

Rate, Review, and Follow the Podcast

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.

Disclosure: I earn commission for purchases made through links in this post.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This