#087: Trailblazing AAI with Cathy and her Groovy Goldendoodles

by | June 12, 2023 | Therapy Dog Talk

Therapy Dog Talk - Cathy + Harley & Jaxson

AAAIP Board Member Cathy Bennett is trailblazing Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAI) in Charleston.

In this 87th episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I spoke with Cathy Bennett, a key player in Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAI). She’s the Therapy Dog Program Coordinator at the Medical University of South Carolina, a proud Board Member of the Association of Animal Assisted Intervention Professionals (AAAIP), and an enthusiastic Goldendoodle lover.

Cathy’s journey into Therapy Dog work began with Harley, her first Goldendoodle, after she saw the bond he had with her mother. After she lost her second Goldendoodle, Leo, Jaxson entered her life. He’s a joyful, goofy pup who’s now certified by the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. Cathy uses her personal experiences of love and loss to fuel her mission of helping others through Therapy Dogs.

Her passion for Goldendoodles goes beyond their adorable looks. Cathy believes that their blend of empathy, intelligence, and gentleness makes them excellent Therapy Dogs. Harley, now retired, and Jaxson have made a big difference to many people’s lives, showing the positive power of dog therapy.

Enroll in Life Skills for Therapy Dog Teams
At MUSC, Cathy is doing groundbreaking work in AAI and describes herself as a strong animal advocate. She teaches the importance of the handler’s role in dog therapy, making sure they know how to look after the dogs while also helping people. To help Therapy Dog teams volunteering in high stress situations, she brought in a professional to teach TTouch, a technique for calming dogs. Listening to this episode, you’ll learn a lot about the wonderful world of Therapy Dogs, the role of their handlers, and the innovative work being done at MUSC. You’ll also get a sense of the joys and challenges of being part of a therapy dog team, and of course, you’ll hear lots about Cathy’s beloved Goldendoodles.

In this episode, we discuss …

  • How Cathy fell in love with Goldendoodles before it was cool.
  • What she looks for to make sure therapy animals enjoy their work.
  • Why she’s involved on the Board of Directors at AAAIP.

Key moments you won’t want to miss:

Note that the timecodes match the video, not the podcast.
  • [00:02:07] Cathy talks about how her dog Harley helped her mom who had dementia, and that led her to work with therapy dogs.
  • [00:05:00] Cathy tells the story of how Jaxson, her second dog, became a therapy dog because of his caring nature.
  • [00:07:50] Cathy talks about how she and a friend created their podcast, ‘Girls With Dogs’ to share conversations about their love for dogs.
  • [00:10:00] Cathy shares about the special work she does at MUSC using therapy dogs to help people.
  • [00:15:08] Cathy talks about her job on the board of AAAIP, a group that helps professionals who work with therapy dogs.
  • [00:17:10] Cathy shares her happiness about helping to create AAAIP, a group that helps therapy dogs work in hospitals.
  • [00:20:01] Cathy talks about how it’s important to make sure a therapy dog is happy and not just doing the job because they have to.
  • [00:20:45] Cathy shares about a new project they started with the Charleston Police Department, where therapy dogs help in stressful situations.
  • [00:22:29] Cathy introduces a new way to help therapy dogs relax after work, called the Tellington TTouch method.
  • [00:23:46] Cathy talks about her blog called Groovy Goldendoodles, where she writes about her fun times working with therapy dogs, Harley and Jaxson.
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:

Rate, Review, and Follow the Podcast

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.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This