Jack’s view as to how and why he became a Therapy Dog
Jack is owned by Carol, one of our fabulous West Lake receptionists. She helped him write this article!
From the day I was adopted from the Sangamon County Animal Control Unit, I knew I was destined to become a therapy dog because I loved all people and other fury friends. I just had to convince my new mom.
Together as a team, we started obedience classes. Wow, I needed those classes!! During our classes we could hear other people talking about their training to become therapy dogs. It sounded like a great adventure and such a rewarding experience because who doesn’t want to make people laugh and smile. During our training, we met a lady named Rose who has a group of people who take their dogs to visit nursing homes in Springfield. We joined up with the group so we could determine if this was something I could do. After a few test runs, my mom was convinced that I could become a therapy dog because she saw how I loved to visit people and she saw how happy it made the residents. From there, I finished my obedience classes, passed my Canine Good Citizen test and then I was in class learning how to become a certified therapy dog. The training took time (because I’m not the most focused guy). After training, we took our test to become a certified therapy dog with Therapy Dogs International (www.tdi-dog.org). The test was challenging but we did it.
Our first visit was to St. Joseph’s home in Springfield. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. Everyone was reaching out to pet me and hug on me and WOW you should have seen all of the smiles. It was a great day!! Now I visit other nursing homes in Springfield and throughout central Illinois. I even get to travel to Decatur and visit patients at Decatur Memorial Hospital. Plus, as you may have seen recently in the State Journal Register, I also get to have children read books to me at the library. That is so fun because the kids laugh and giggle and after reading they get to play with me for a little bit. I love my job being a Therapy Dog. It is very rewarding and the joy it brings to people cannot be measured. I am happy to say that I have received my Active Outstanding Volunteer Certificate from Therapy Dogs International because I have completed over 150 therapy dog visits. That is a lot of awesome hugs, kisses and tail wagging great times!!!
Read about another one of our patient's, Gabbie, who also loves books!