Posts in Programs
Canine Therapy Corps Featured in "What You Do Matters"

This very personal edition focuses on Canine Therapy Corps' program at Haymarket Center, one that all three of my therapy dogs (Scotch, Rou, and Swindle), my husband Louie, and I have volunteered in over the years. Haymarket Center offers comprehensive behavioral health solutions to aid people with substance abuse disorders. Tonight at 9:00 p.m., Canine Therapy Corps’ work at Haymarket Center will be featured in the documentary “What You Do Matters,” which will debut on PBS (click here to watch online). 

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Overcoming Fears

The first time we saw Rou, we were so nervous, and our daughter was so scared.  But, we quickly learned that Rou is a very good dog, and that we’d be able to take things at our daughter’s pace, working our way up as she became more confident.  During that first session, Rou was in a different room behind a glass wall. He alternated between lying down quietly and performing some tricks.  My daughter could see him, but the glass barrier made her feel safer.  At first, we’d just have her walk past the glass. Then, we worked up to her staying near the glass for longer and longer periods of time, and eventually, we got rid of the barrier altogether. My daughter is a big fan of the movie Frozen. So, to help extend the amount of time she was near Rou, he would hold signs in his mouth with quotes and characters from the movie on them.  As my daughter read the signs, she’d get closer and stay closer to him without even realizing it.  

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An Inspirational Connection: Veterans and Rescue Dogs

We’re a month into the New Year, which means that many of our animal-assisted therapy programs around the city recently kicked off their first 2015 sessions.  One of those programs was our psychosocial program at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.  This program assists veterans being treated for a myriad of mental illnesses, including PTSD.  I’d like to share a touching story from that program with you today.

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A Mother's Story: Cheri Sheridan

When the therapy dog, Rudy, and his handler, Gayle, finally arrived, it was the first smile I’d seen from Carter in a long time.  I still get choked up thinking about it.  She was thrilled to be near a dog again after so long in hospital rooms.  I told Gayle that Carter really needed to get walking again, so she and Rudy took a lap around the hallway.  As the two of them walked past the other rooms, everyone wanted to come out and pet Rudy.  Even the nurses, with a huge workload and a lot of stress, would smile and drop their shoulders at the sight of Rudy.  He not only brought joy and healing to Carter, but to every single person who saw him.  

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