School Counselor Kailey shares the impact that her Certified Therapy Dog Leo makes when she brings him to work with her.
In this 52nd episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I chat with Kailey and her Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, Leo, about their work as a therapy dog team in two different elementary schools in Kansas City, Missouri. Kailey, a school counselor, shares how Leo’s gentle nature and ability to connect with people made her believe he would be a great therapy dog.
We delve into Leo’s journey, from his certification with Jeremy Rinehart Dog Training to overcoming a traumatic experience with a BB gun. Leo’s personal story of facing his fears has helped students relate to him and feel more comfortable sharing their own struggles.
During our conversation, Kailey emphasizes the importance of setting ground rules with students to ensure Leo’s comfort and safety, while still meeting the needs of her students. We also discuss the challenges and rewards of balancing Leo’s needs and students’ needs at two different schools.
We touch on a powerful moment when Leo helped create a safe space for two students to share their personal stories and resolve their issues. Kailey also shares her advice for those interested in getting started with a therapy dog, emphasizing early socialization, training, and finding a purpose for the dog.
By the end of this episode, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the impact a therapy dog can have on students’ lives, the importance of finding the right balance, and valuable insights on how to prepare your canine companion for this meaningful work.
In this episode, we discuss …
- How Kailey was introduced the idea of school counselors partnering with Therapy Dogs.
- What she found helpful while training Leo to come to work with her.
- How Kailey has seen Leo help with the kids at school.
Key moments you won’t want to miss:
- [02:28] Kailey reveals she’s a school counselor in Kansas City, bringing her therapy dog Leo to two schools.
- [03:10] Leo trained as a therapy dog with Jeremy Rinehart Dog Training.
- [05:23] Kailey shares how Leo’s BB gun incident and fear of loud noises help students connect with him.
- [06:39] Leo positively impacts students during one-on-one sessions.
- [07:34] Leo’s kind nature and connection with people convinced Kailey he’d be a great therapy dog.
- [07:49] Leo loves playing outside during recess and running on the playground.
- [08:34] Kailey stresses the importance of setting ground rules for students when Leo is around.
- [09:36] Kailey sets boundaries to ensure Leo’s comfort and safety in therapy sessions.
- [10:22] On Leo’s days off, he enjoys spending time at home, relaxing with another dog and listening to music.
- [14:58] Leo creates a safe space for two students to share their stories and resolve issues.
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:
- Animal Assisted Play Therapy®
- Dr. Sunday Agbonika
- Jeremy Rinehart Dog Training
- Nathan Selove’s Service Dog Tales
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