#091: The Resilient Journey of Estella and her Therapy Poms

by | July 10, 2023 | Therapy Dog Talk

Therapy Dog Talk - Estella + Monti & Finn

Estella and her volunteer Therapy Poms work through their own traumas while helping others.

In this 91st episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I talk with Estella about the heartwarming story of her senior Therapy Poms, Monti and Finn, and their combined journey of healing and support.

Estella opens up about her introduction to the world of Therapy Dogs and the unique paths her Pomeranians took to become registered Therapy Dogs through Music City Pet Partners. While Finn’s journey was slightly prolonged due to Estella’s initial unfamiliarity with the process, Monti, having benefited from her acquired experience, smoothly transitioned into his role.

We talked about how it took some time to find the right volunteer enviornment for Estella as well as each of her Therapy Poms. Most recently, Finn has enjoyed volunteering in the juvenile court system. Estella shares what it’s like for the foster children they work with and showcases how Finn’s incredible ability to communicate with children in high-stress environments can transform lives.

One of the many heartwarming moments in our conversation revolves around Estella’s trauma-informed podcast, “Finding Strength of Heart,” which underlines the cyclical nature of healing from trauma, resonating deeply with her and her dogs’ personal stories.

A highlight of our chat is Estella’s emphasis on the importance of self-care for handlers. Her insights into the intertwined well-being of the handler and their therapy dog, exemplified by her own experiences, provides a critical lesson for anyone venturing into this field.

Dive into this episode to journey alongside Estella, Monti, and Finn – an inspiring trio whose resilience, patience, and love for therapy work is a story you won’t want to miss.

In this episode, we discuss …

  • The unique stories behind Monti and Finn becoming registered Therapy Dogs.
  • Estella’s incredible experiences volunteering with her Therapy Poms, especially in the juvenile court system.
  • The necessity of self-care for Therapy Dog handlers, taking from Estella’s own lessons learned from her trauma stories.

Key moments you won’t want to miss:

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

  • [00:01:15] Estella introduces Monti and Finn, her Therapy Poms who she rescued as senior dogs.
  • [00:03:15] A dive into the registration process with Pet Partners and the challenges Estella faced during Finn’s registration.
  • [00:05:27] A delve into the traumatic backgrounds of both dogs – Monti’s survival story from a puppy mill and Finn’s escape from a backyard breeder hoarding situation.
  • [00:06:04] Estella opens up about her personal traumatic experiences in 2020, leading to her profound insights on trauma healing.
  • [00:10:23] Estella recounts a gripping episode at a corporate convention where her claustrophobia was triggered, painting a picture of personal challenges that exist outside the therapy journey.
  • [00:12:12] The significance of selecting the right environment for therapy dogs is explored, as Estella highlights the importance of understanding both the environment and the dog’s personalities.
  • [00:15:46] Estella shares a poignant experience in the juvenile court system where Finn plays a pivotal role in helping children communicate in stressful situations.
  • [00:17:12] Estella reflects on managing her volunteering schedule and the crucial lesson she learned about balancing personal health with her passion for volunteering.
  • [00:19:00] Estella uses the vivid analogy of “securing your own mask before assisting others,” offering a deep reflection on the importance of the handler’s well-being.
  • [00:22:08] The episode takes a motivational turn as Estella speaks about facing Therapy Dog team evaluations with a mindset of having fun, resulting in her perfect scores.
  • [00:24:13] Estella dives deep into her decision to start a trauma-informed podcast, the challenges she faced, and the powerful realization of the worth of her trauma story.

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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