#035: The Wadley family and their Volunteer Therapy Dogs

by | May 30, 2022 | Therapy Dog Talk

The Wadley family and their Volunteer Therapy Dogs

What’s it like for a family to work with volunteer Therapy Dogs? The Wadleys weigh in with their experiences.

In this 35th episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I chat with Jared Wadley, News Magazine Editor for Alliance of Therapy Dogs, and his sons, Jordan and Devin, about their amazing experiences with their volunteer therapy dogs, Bella, Legend, and Bree. We talk about training the dogs, how Jared found out about therapy dog work, and why volunteering is great for families.

During our talk, Jordan and Devin share their special experiences as Junior Handlers. They tell us how they learned to connect with their dogs and the people they visit. The Wadleys also share their favorite moments volunteering at university events to help students relax, visits to hospitals, and more.

We talk about how important it is to know when a therapy dog needs to retire and how to bring in a younger dog to continue the work. Jared also tells us about his job with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs and how they encourage more young people to become Junior Handlers.

Near the end of the episode, we discuss Bree’s future as a possible Crisis Response Dog and why spending quality time with dogs is important, whether they’re therapy dogs or not. Devin shares his dream of using animal-assisted therapy in his future career as a social worker.

By listening to this episode, you’ll learn about the fun and challenges of working with therapy dogs, what it’s like to be a Junior Handler, and how therapy dog work can bring families closer while making a big difference in many people’s lives.

In this episode, we discuss …

  • How Jared discovered Therapy Dogs and encouraged his sons to join him as Junior Handlers.
  • What it has been like to train three dogs to volunteer in a variety of settings.
  • The unexpected benefits of volunteering as a Junior Handler.

Key moments you won’t want to miss:

  • [00:56] Meet the Wadleys and their therapy dogs: Bella, Legend, and Bree.
  • [02:12] Jared talks about finding therapy dog work at a University of Michigan event.
  • [03:12] How they helped Bella feel more comfortable around other dogs.
  • [04:54] Devin and Jordan share their experiences as Junior Handlers with their dogs and the people they meet.
  • [07:59] Knowing when a therapy dog should retire and bringing in a younger dog, like Legend.
  • [10:34] Training Bree, the newest dog in the family, to be a therapy dog.
  • [12:22] Comparing training a puppy to training adult rescue dogs.
  • [14:18] The Wadleys’ favorite places to volunteer, like university events and hospitals.
  • [16:26] Improving communication skills as Junior Handlers with Jared’s help.
  • [21:26] Devin talks about his dream to use animal therapy in his future career as a social worker.

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:

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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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