From volunteering in Chile to volunteering as a Therapy Dog team in Texas, Tania is always finding ways to make an impact wherever she goes.

In this 67th episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I talk with Tania about her experiences volunteering as a Therapy Dog team in Texas through Paws for Therapy with her nine-year-old Golden Retriever Molly Rose.

If you’re ready to learn more about Tania and Molly Rose’s experiences, let’s dive in:

In this episode, we discuss …

  • How a trainer told Tania that Molly Rose was born to do this work.
  • Why it can be important to find a good group to volunteer with.
  • What Tania finds rewarding about volunteering.

Key moments you won’t want to miss:

  • [01:08] Tania introduces us to Molly Rose who joined their family as a puppy—inititally to help with her daughter’s speech delay.
  • [01:58] Tania shares how along her obedience training journey, one of her trainers told her that Molly was a natural for Therapy Dog work.
  • [02:59] Tania describes what types of environments she and Molly practiced for in their Therapy Dog training.
  • [03:24] Tania discusses how Molly wasn’t ready to be a Therapy Dog until she was five as she had a very playful nature as a Golden Retriever and how her demeanor changes when she puts on her vest to work.
  • [04:05] Tania shares how Molly needs time to settle when she arrives at the hospital to volunteer.
  • [04:44] For Tania, Molly does all the work. She views herself as Molly’s facilitator to take care of the things. she cannot do for herself.
  • [05:33] Tania shares her history of volunteering ever since she was a young girl in Chile. She also shares how she’s not sure if she will try to train another dog for this work one day as, for her, she’s doing this for Molly.
  • [06:32] Tania says the key to volunteering is to be in a good group. She enjoys volunteering through Paws for Therapy because she feels like she has a team.
  • [06:56] Tania shares how Molly is helping kids on the spectrum who experience sensory issues or are are nonverbal and how over time many have become more comfortable with petting her or call out her name when they see her.
    [08:29] Tania talks about, and shows us, the trading cards and stickers that she’s made for Molly to give out on their visits.
  • [09:06] Tania says Molly’s favorite thing about being a Therapy Dog is the attention and the pets.
  • [09:28] Tania shares how she was surprised how well Molly did with toddlers and babies the first time she met them on a visit.
  • [10:59] Tania shares how she finds volunteer opportunities thorugh her group including going to hospitals, assisted living facilities, the schools, memory care and special visits like to universities and high schools during finals week.
  • [12:13] We discuss how some places work with specific pet therapy organizations.
  • [13:00] Tania answers a question about where she’s sourced her trading cards for Molly and I talk about my favorite shop for stickers: Sticker Mule.
  • [13:55] Tania shares how she needed to find a new organization to volunteer through after the pandemic which is how she found Paws for Therapy.
  • [14:37] Tania reminds people that pet therapy is volunteering and that to do so you need to have the time and enjoy doing the work. She also shares that for her it has been very rewarding.
  • [16:06] Tania shares a few stories to illustrate why she enjoys volunteering with Molly.
  • [17:42] Tania shares that her visits range from 1-2 hours depending on the environment and how it can sometimes take quite a bit of time to get back to the car as so many people want to meet Molly. 

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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