#041: San Diego Therapy Dog team Sarah and Cocoa

by | July 25, 2022 | Therapy Dog Talk

San Diego Therapy Dog team Sarah and Cocoa

San Diego Therapy Dog team Sarah and Cocoa have jumped all paws into volunteering through Love on a Leash.

In this 41st episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I chat with Sarah and her Maltipoo Schnauzer, Cocoa, about their uplifting volunteer work as a therapy dog team in Southern California through Love on a Leash. We particularly delve into how a visit to Sarah’s grandparents inspired her to start their therapy dog journey.

Sarah initially looked into registering Cocoa as a Therapy Dog after ESA laws changed, hoping it would let Cocoa fly with her. Although that wasn’t the case, witnessing Cocoa’s special connection with her grandparents showed Sarah that Cocoa had the potential for therapy work. Together, they completed a six-week prep course for San Diego Therapy Dog teams and certified Cocoa through Love on a Leash.

Throughout the episode, we discuss their experiences with various visits, including emotionally challenging ones like at Camp Widow. Sarah emphasizes the importance of self-care and taking time to rest and recover to avoid burnout. We also explore Cocoa’s tricks, such as high five, paws up, spin, and crawl, and their relevance in therapy work.

Additionally, we talk about what Sarah brings with her on visits and how her childhood Schnauzer led her to find Cocoa, a Maltipoo Schnauzer mix. By the end of our conversation, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the joys and challenges of being a therapy dog team and valuable insights on preparing your furry friend for this rewarding work.

In this episode, we discuss …

  • Cocoa’s training journey to Therapy Dog and the prep course that helped teach the basics.
  • Why Sarah chose to certify through Love on a Leash and how it’s been a positive experience.
  • What Sarah finds to be truly rewarding about their pet therapy visits.

Key moments you won’t want to miss:

  • [01:46] Sarah’s discovery of Therapy Dogs came from trying to find a solution for Cocoa flying with her after ESA laws changed, which led her to pursue therapy dog work after seeing Cocoa connect with her grandparents.
  • [03:08] Cocoa’s calm behavior and love of snuggling showed Sarah that she would be great in new environments and with new people.
  • [04:13] A local six-week prep course prepared Sarah and Cocoa for the basics of pet therapy work as a San Diego Therapy Dog team.
  • [04:35] Sarah chose to volunteer through Love on a Leash because of the positive experiences she’s had with the community.
  • [05:14] Sarah shares the experience of powering through supervised visits required by Love on a Leash.
  • [05:47] Cocoa needs a long walk before visits to get her energy out, which surprised Sarah.
  • [06:32] Sarah loves showing off Cocoa and interacting with the people they visit.
  • [06:49] Emotionally challenging visits, like at Camp Widow, require Sarah and Cocoa to rest and recover as a form of self-care.
  • [08:36] Cocoa’s energy visibly changes from the beginning to the end of a visit.
  • [11:42] Cocoa’s therapy work tricks include high five, paws up, spin, and crawl, which we discuss along with AKC trick titles and their requirements.

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.

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