Here’s a little sampling of some of the questions we are asked when we’re working as a therapy-dog team.
Q: Why is there a dog in my hospital room?
A: He’s a certified therapy dog. He’s here to make you feel better. Is it working?
Q: What does a therapy dog do?
A: Therapy dogs have been tested, certified and insured to visit patients in hospitals, nursing homes and home-care settings. Some visit schools to teach children how to interact safely with dogs. Others listen patiently as children read to them. Therapy dogs can even help with physical therapy or soothe first responders in emergencies.
Q: Does that mean your dog is in therapy?
A: No, but sometimes I think he should be. Heck. Maybe we both should be in therapy!
Q: Can I pet him?
A: Sure! Ace’s vest says, “Therapy Dog – Please Pet Me!” He is not a service dog, which you should never approach to pet.
Q: Can you take him on airplanes?
A: No. Service dogs can go on public transportation and into restaurants, but therapy dogs have none of those privileges.
Q: I’m afraid of dogs. Does he have to visit?
A: No way! If you don’t want to see him, we’ll keep our distance. We always ask before approaching a patient and we always respect their wishes.
Q: Does he live with you?
A: Yes. Ace has been my pet since he was 8 weeks old. He sleeps at the foot of my bed and has pretty much single handedly raised my two children.
Q: Who trained him?
A: My husband and I have been working with Ace since the day we brought him home to teach him to do things like walk nicely on the leash. His gentle manner and loving personality are all him and we can’t take any credit for that!
Q: Does your dog like kids?
A: Yes! He thinks they taste like chicken.