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.
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.
Mentioned in this episode:
- Alliance of Therapy Dogs
- Association of Animal Assisted Intervention Professionals (AAAIP)
- Dr. Taylor Chastain Griffin
- Girls With Dogs Podcast
- Groovy Goldendoodles
- Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Therapy Animal Program
- Tellington TTouch
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