Tanya says her special needs Therapy Dog Boone provides unique opportunities to connect with children with special needs.

In this 32nd episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I spoke with Tanya who volunteers through Alliance of Therapy Dogs with her special needs Therapy Dog, Boone. Boone is Tanya’s second special needs rescue. Her first rescue, Joey, inspired her to help other disabled dogs to find forever homes by providing them with wheelchairs and prosthetics through their non-profit Joey’s Paw. As of the date of this recording, Joey’s Paw has helped 1,125 dogs. For Tanya, this was a way to make meaning out of the suffering that Joey had endured prior to finding his home with them.

When Tanya brought Boone home, she knew right away that, after he received the medical help that he needed, he would enjoy being a volunteer Therapy Dog. It turns out, her intuition was spot on as she shared stories of Boone’s love of working with children as well as his pat downs from the Pittsburgh Airport TSA when volunteering at the airport.

Like our friend Cole the Deaf Dog, Boone’s disability has provided opportunities for them to reach children with special needs in a way that is unique to how those same children interact with other Therapy Dogs.

If you’re ready to hear more from Tanya about her experiences volunteering with Boone, let’s dive in:

In this episode, we discuss …

  • Why Tanya knew that Boone would enjoy volunteering as a Therapy Dog.
  • What inspired Tanya to found her non-profit Joey’s Paw and how they’ve helped over 1,000 other dogs.
  • How Boone’s wheelchair allows them to reach children with special needs as well people who are afraid of dogs.

Key moments you won’t want to miss:

  • [00:49] Tanya shares her experiencing picking up Boone as a foster and how she knew immediately that she was going to keep him and that he would be a good Therapy Dog.
  • [01:37] Tanya talks about the schools that they volunteer at as well as his role as a PIT Paw at the Pittsburgh Airport.
  • [01:58] What Boone loves about working with children at schools—he even has his own desk!
  • [02:32] Tanya talks about Boone’s wheelchair and how it has opened up different avenues for them in working as a speical needs Therapy Dog with special needs children.
  • [03:24] Tanya talks about their non-profit Joey’s Paw and Boone’s role as ambassador when they are out and about.
  • [04:14] How Joey, her first special needs rescue who now has a prosthetic, inspired Tanya to help get more dogs like Joey adopted as a way to make meaning out of what had happened to him in a previous home.
  • [05:10] The differences in training and therapy pet evaluation for Boone to address his special needs.
  • [06:00] Tanya share how rewarding it is to see people brighten up when they see Boone enter the room.
  • [06:54] The special impact Boone has on people who are usually afraid of dogs.
  • [07:56] Boone’s relationship with the TSA agents at the Pittsburgh Airport and his love of their pat downs.
  • [09:19] Tanya’s advice to make sure that you know your dog—especially if you are interested in pursuing becoming a Therapy Dog team—as they will let you know whether or not they’re enjoying the work.

I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I do. Give it a listen and let me know 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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