The highlight of a recent DKG, Mu Chapter meeting was the program. Mu Chapter was entertained by Ann Davis, and a couple of her best friends, Scooby and Grace. Ann is a French teacher at RMHS, and a MU Chapter member. Scooby and Grace are therapy dogs, and have earned their therapy certificates and are registered with Pet Partners. Therapy dogs are different from service dogs in that they provide comfort and affection to people in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and to people with learning disabilities.
There are many benefits to the use of therapy dogs, as well as programs they have been trained to do. One of these programs is R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dog) teams. In this program, a child reads to a dog. Because of low self-esteem and lack of confidence, many children have difficulty reading in public. Therefore, having them read to a dog helps them relax. As children relax, the focus is on the dog, and what they are reading. This is done with the child and the dog on a mat, or quilt. There are usually several books from which the child can choose. Gradually, by participating in this program, children develop self confidence and better self-esteem.
Children also improve in other subjects, and have better school attendance.
Also participating was Cornelia Singletary, Family Services Program Manager at Down East Partnership, and her dog, Sophie. Sophie has earned her therapy certificate, and is registered with Pet Partners, and also works with R.E.A.D. teams.
Another guest of Mu Chapter was Belinda Carter, a retired teacher, and past president of Nash-Rocky Mount Reading Council. Belinda assisted Ann, and treated the group with delicious homemade, ginger, dog cookies.
Most people, especially children, like to pet dogs.
Unfortunately, many will go for the top of the dog’s head. This can be threatening to the dog.
According to Ann, it is better to wait for the dog to sit, and then stroke the dog’s fur, in an upward motion underneath the chin, with a smooth, gentle motion.
An interesting recommendation for those who have dogs was to consider getting another.
Dogs need to communicate, and as much as humans try to meet this need, another dog does this much better.
About any dog can be trained to be a therapy dog. Those who may be interested in this training for their pets can find more information at the following websites: http://www.petpartners.org/