A Poodle helps with the grief of losing a loved one

It is certainly not news that poodles, as well as cats and other dogs, have been shown to be helpful to people in many situations.  The use of therapy dogs for those who suffer terminal illness, children with special needs, hospital patients, people who are homebound and incarcerated inmates has been of great benefit.


poodle with a woman

Poodles offer us a special love like nothing else


Hospitals, nursing homes, retirement communities and schools have used therapy dogs for decades and they provide an invaluable service to those they visit and interact with.

It is a fact that positive endorphins are created when a poodle or another breed of dog or cat interacts with a person suffering.  The animal provides comfort and companionship that is combined with the unconditional love that exists with a dog.

When my father died recently, back in November of 2013, it was very hard on my family, especially my mom.  They were married for 59 years and it was a very difficult and painful loss.  After the funeral, we had friends and neighbors visit as the days went by, but one special visitor gave my mom a wonderful gift of warmth and love.

Everyone gave their kind support and sympathies during a very sad time and everyone’s thoughtful words and visits were very much appreciated.  But when my wife and I brought Lucy our Poodle over to her house for a visit, she jumped on my mother’s lap and just gave licks and got hugs, it was very special.

poodle licking woman

Lucy the mini poodle gives a kiss


She took my mother by surprise a few times when she just turned her head and gave a few kisses and licks.  You can see the delight and surprise in my mom’s face when Lucy showers her with love.  It certainly brightened her day and took her mind off of her grief.  If a poodle can do that for someone, even for just a moment, that is the greatest gift of all, isn’t it?


Poodles make excellent therapy dogs

The warmth and comfort of a dogs loving touch can calm and soothe the body, mind and spirit of a person.  Millions of poodle owners and pet owners know just how healing it can be to have a quiet cuddle with your four legged furry friend.

poodle with an elderly woman

Poodles make excellent therapy dogs

But on another level, a real trained therapy poodle or dog can provide those in need with a life changing experience that can really help to boost spirits that so desperately need some extra love and comfort.  Those challenged with being bed ridden in hospitals or those dealing with life changing disabilities and enduring hardships get a special kind of a boost from therapy dogs and service dogs.

Therapy dogs come in all shapes and sizes and they bring a wonderful gift of love with them everywhere they go.  By holding, petting and just seeing the loving eyes of a therapy poodle or therapy dog, a person can feel loved and comforted in a way that is genuinely healing to them.

Therapy dogs are an important part of many institutions like schools and hospitals or nursing homes.  In most cases, these institutions require that the therapy animals have passed the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Test, as well as having had special training.

While many different sizes and breeds of dogs have been used as therapy dogs, a small dog, like the miniature poodle, can be ideal.  A large dog like a Golden Retriever or a Labrador may be too big to sit on a person’s bed.  People like smaller dogs for that reason and they can easily be picked up ad placed at an elderly persons bedside so the patient can pet or play with the dog.

The Poodle is a perfect candidate for being a therapy dog.  It is one of the most intelligent of all of the breeds of dogs and it is a quick learner.  Many poodles are therapy dogs and even a few have been employed by the Japanese police force as worker dogs.

They are both beautiful and smart, as well as hypoallergenic, so they are a great breed for those who are sensitive or suffer from allergies.

The standard poodles and the smaller ones have been used both in hospitals as well as many school programs.  One such poodle is a white standard poodle named Ariel, who assists in reading programs and comforts students at Rodriquez Elementary School in Harlingen, Texas.

While Lucy, our beloved gray miniature poodle is not trained to be a therapy dog, she provides the members of this humble household with the loving comfort only a dog can offer.  It’s the simple gift of love that can change a person’s life in the most magical way.




Poodles and pets may help children with autism

There is strong evidence now that shows that Poodles and pets may help children with autism.  A new study done at Centres Hospitaliers Régionaux et Universitaires de Brest in Bohars, France may prove that pets, especially dogs, could be helpful to children suffering from autism.

young boy and a poodle

This poodle is this boy's special friend

It seems that the introduction of pets in the home may give rise to pro-social behavior in autistic children.  The researchers found that by introducing a dog into the household, the autistic children seem to exhibit improved sharing and comforting behavior.  According to the researchers involved in this new study of pets and humans, this may be the very first study which shows an association between having a poodle or a dog interact with an autistic child and positive changes in the prosocial behavior of that child.

The team studied two groups of autistic children comprising 12 who had acquired a family pet (mainly a dog or cat) after the age of 5 years and eight who had owned a family pet since birth.
The children, along with two groups of age-, gender-, and language level-matched autistic controls who had never owned pets, were assessed using the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) at the age of 4‑5 years and again at an average age of 10 years.
The researchers found that children who acquired a family pet after the age of 5 years showed significant improvements compared with controls in scores for two of the 36 ADI-R items, namely “offering to share,” eg, sharing food or toys with parents or other children, and “offering comfort,” eg, reassuring parents or peers who were sad or hurt.

Read more from the original article here


Poodles and pets may help children with autism

Recently, there have been more and more programs where therapy dogs, Labradoodles and other types of dogs in particular, have been brought to schools where they are introduced to children with autism.  There have also been many programs like the ones that have brought in therapy dogs to give college students a stress-relief break during intense studying for finals.  There have also been programs in many local public schools that allow visits from therapy dogs to visit children in schools that read to the dogs.  Programs like these have all been very well received by the children, parents and the schools.

The results from these therapy dog programs have all been quite positive.  As you well know, dogs, cats and other pets have a very therapeutic effect on people.  Things like reduced stress and increased serotonin levels have been associated with caring for and petting an animal like a poodle, cat or even a rabbit.  People with pets tend to have less stress and better health in general.

Here is a video of a very touching story of how a golden retriever helped a young boy with autism come out of his shell and learn to trust and interact with this gentle and loving animal.




As you can see from watching this video, dogs are so special and they can truly change people’s lives, especially this young autistic boy’s life.


Your Poodle, the Therapy Dog Hero

Your poodle, the therapy dog hero

Imagine this: your poodle, the therapy dog hero.  Such is the case for two mixed breed poodles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Each week the poodles work as therapy dogs, comforting  students of University. of Pittsburgh during stressful times.  Margo, a poodle-bichon mix, and Maui, a poodle-Havanese mix, are among 20 therapy dogs who rise to the occasion each week.   What makes this story even more amazing is that both Margo and Maui were both homeless dogs until they were adopted by Marsha Robbins, who teaches the therapy dog classes for the Humane Society in Pittsburgh.  Here is their story, written by Linda Wilson Fuoco of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Your Poodle,the Therapy Dog Hero

Twenty therapy dogs took over a stretch of lawn outside the Cathedral of Learning on Tuesday night, and dozens of University of Pittsburgh students couldn’t have been happier to see them. The dogs wagged tails and some rolled on their backs, inviting belly rubs. Young men and women unabashedly hugged the dogs, who reciprocated with traditional canine shows of affection — licking the faces of their fans and putting paws in the hands of students who asked them to “shake!”work as

Therapy dogs have been making weekly visits to the landmark building for eight years, and the major part of their mission has been to provide study breaks and stress relief for students. That mission has shifted in recent weeks as students, faculty and staff deal with the unimaginable stress and disruption caused by dozens of bomb threats that come at all hours of the day and night at many buildings throughout the Oakland campus, including the Cathedral of Learning…

Many of the cathedral regulars, including Margo, Maui and Bell, were homeless dogs adopted from the North Side shelter.

Margo, a poodle-bichon mix, and Maui, a poodle-Havanese mix, are owned by Marsha Robbins, who teaches the therapy dog classes at the Humane Society. They sat on steps that Ms. Robbins called “the peanut gallery” because many of the small dogs congregated there, including another shelter alumnus — 8-pound Bell. Owner Carol Culp of Esplen describes her as “a Cha-weenie” — a Chihuahua-dachshund mix.

Some of Ms. Robbins’ students also visit the nearby Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. They have continued to visit patients and staff since the March 8 shooting rampage there that injured five employees and killed one.

Original Story Here.

Nothing will stop these loyal friends.  Be it bad weather, bomb threat or bad day, how amazing to know that your poodle, the therapy dog hero, along with all the other therapy dogs will be there for you in your time of need(if only it were up to them).  Always remember to show them the love right back because they very much see you as their hero too!


A Labradoodle Can Be A Great Therapy Dog

Here’s a great story about Bogie, that proves how A Labradoodle Can Be A Great Therapy Dog. Some breeds are better than others when it comes to finding the right dog for being a children’s or child therapy dog, or a dog that will do well in a hospital situation. There is something very special about these Poodle mixes that are part Labrador and part Poodle, and are known as a Labradoodle. They have just the right combination of smarts and personality that makes for an excellent candidate for pet therapy.

Check out this story about Bogie, that shows just why A Labradoodle Can Be A Great Therapy Dog.


This Lab-Poodle Could Be A Great Therapy Dog

EMC Lifestyle – Imagine a drug that can lower your blood pressure, improve self-esteem, increase reading skills and improve the survival rate of heart attack and angina patients. Sounds like a miracle drug, right? But it’s for real.

It’s called a dog. Extensive research has found each of the above benefits of dog companionship.

You don’t have to quote the research to Robere Keirstead, whose dog Bogie, a Labradoodle named after Humphrey Bogart, is a certified therapy dog.

Bogie, who turns five years old on Feb. 2, is one very special dog. Bogie and Keirstead work in two local settings. On Monday and Friday, they visit John XXIII Catholic School. They also visit Waterford Retirement Residence.

Bogie teaches children that good things can happen in the world. But Bogie’s just passing along what he learned himself.

“Socialization is very important for dogs,” said Keirstead. “You have to teach them that the real world is good.”

That helps them develop confidence and comfort around people and other dogs.

“You also have to teach them good manners,” she said.

Keirstead lives with three dogs and took each of them to puppy kindergarten when they were young.

“I still take them to agility training,” she added.

It’s all part of becoming a professional team.

It’s not easy meeting the standards to become a therapy dog. When Bogie was about 18 months old, he was tested to become a St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dog.

“They’re looking for a dog who has a steady personality,” said Keirstead. “They drop cans behind you to see if the dog startles or runs away. The dogs are also introduced to people on crutches, in wheelchairs and wearing long housecoats.”

If anything indicates that the dog does not have a stellar and stable personality, it is not allowed in the program.

Bogie’s first assignment involved visiting Kingston General Hospital. After working as a therapy dog for a year, Bogie became eligible to be tested for certification as a child therapy dog.

This time the testing was downright wild.

“They have several children, from 8 to 10 years old,” said Keirstead. “You walk into the room with the dog and music is playing, children are throwing toys. Then they put Bogie in the centre and the kids ran around playing Ring Around A Rosie. They fall down, scream, and make lots of noise. Then one at a time the come running beside the dog and flop onto a mattress and scream. Again, they’re looking to see if the dog is nice and steady. If the dog runs, growls, jumps on a child, or takes a toy and won’t bring it back, they’re not allowed in the program.”

Again, Bogie passed with flying colours. Next, he went through an assessment to determine if he met the standards to become involved in the St. John’s Ambulance Reading Education Assistance Dog (READ) program called Paws 4 Stories. Bogie became the first dog in Kingston to volunteer in a school for this program.

“The role of therapy dogs is so important,” said Keirstead. “Dogs are ideal reading companions because they help increase relaxation and lower blood pressure. They listen attentively. They do not judge, laugh or criticize. They allow children to proceed at their own pace.”

In January 2010, Bogie went to work at École Catholique Cathedrale every Monday and Friday morning. This year, the pair visit John XXIII Catholic Elementary School in Collins Bay.

“The Paws 4 Stories program improves children’s reading and communication skills by employing a powerful methodreading to a dog.”

Keirstead explained that when a dog is listening, the environment is transformed. A child’s dread is replaced by eager anticipation, and learning occurs.

“The handler is a skilled facilitator, tooshifting performance pressure off the child and providing support while the child gets supervised reading practice necessary to build vocabulary, increase understanding of the material, and gain fluency as a reader.”

In addition to her dog training and dog therapy skills, Keirstead is a retired teacher and painter. So she knows a lot about creativity, education and how to help children learn.

“I believe if children can develop a love of books and reading in the early grades the whole world is open to them,” she said. “If a child struggles in the early grades with reading and never gets up to grade level, before you know it he is in Grade 5 or 6 and cannot read well.”

Isn’t it great how Bogie, the Labradoodle, can actually help young students improve reading skills and gain confidence in the classroom? I like hearing about these situations where a Poodle or Poodle-mix like Bogie really becomes a valued asset in assisting children in schools or giving loving comfort to ailing patients in a hospital. The article here shows us why A Labradoodle Can Be A Great Therapy Dog.

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Poodles That Provide Unconditional Love To Hospital Patients

There is no doubt about the benefits of these specially trained Poodles Who Provide Unconditional Love To Hospital Patients, as part of a Wellness Program. Because of their extremely docile and friendly nature, Poodles are one of the top choices of dog breeds for this program called Project Pup, which stands for Pets Uplifting People. The pooches are put through 13 weeks of training before they are ready to enter the hospital, where they work with trainers and visit patients. They provide a tremendous service by giving unconditional love and uplift the spirits of patients who are in great need of an emotional and spiritual boost. It’s as important as giving medicine, some say. See what the recent article about this wonderful program has to say about the remarkable Poodles Who Provide Unconditional Love To Hospital Patients.

CLEARWATER – Oliver is a standard poodle that tips the scales at roughly 60 pounds. But he and 48 other canines at Morton Plant Hospital are more than just family pets. They are part of a pet therapy program that has been credited with doing as much for patients and their loved ones as any medication.

“They ease the stress of people in waiting rooms and help patients cope with their medical issues,” said Sally Nitka, Oliver’s owner.

Launched in 1991 with a single dog, Sumi, owned by Mary Lou Warn, the dog therapy program at Morton Plant was one of the first in Pinellas County. At one point, 56 dogs were in the program. The highly skilled pooches have become friends with everyone from patients to nurses to janitors.

Suzanne Scott, manager of volunteer services, said not just any dog can become a therapy canine. Some breeds, due to their aggressive behavior and history, are barred from the program.

Breeds in the program range from toy poodles to German shepherds. All undergo intensive training and they must be certified before making their rounds at the hospital.

Under the auspices of Project PUP or Pets Uplifting People, the dogs and their owners undergo 13 weeks of training that is outlined by Therapy Dogs International, a volunteer organization dedicated to regulating and testing dogs and their volunteer handlers.

Founded in 1976, more than 24,000 dog/handler teams are now registered by TDI in the United States.

Nitka said dogs play important roles in hospitals, nursing homes and even in Hospice centers where they uplift the spirits of patients and help loved ones deal with the tragedies of terminal illnesses.

But dogs are not the only critters certified as “therapy animals.” Some facilities use cats, birds and even horses.

Everyone loves the idea of dogs visiting medical personnel and patients alike. Nurses provide them with gifts of treats, neckerchiefs and pats on the head.

“The first thing I do is ask a patient if he or she wants a four-legged visitor,” Nitka said.

Then Oliver or one of his peers takes over. Dogs are known to provide unconditional love, regardless of a human’s background, financial status or illness.

Once Oliver was asked to visit a patient who was on death’s doorstep. He placed his head under the man’s arm and stayed very quiet to provide comfort during the patient’s last living moments. Shortly thereafter the man died and his relatives were overcome with emotion.

“They could not thank Oliver enough for what he had done,” Nitka said.

It’s stories like that and a testimonial from a dying patient’s loved ones that is really touching and wonderful to hear told. Poodles and almost all dogs provide that pure kind of love that doesn’t care how old you are, if you have money or not, if you are sick or healthy, but just shows up for you 100 percent to just be there to love you. I hope this program continues and spreads to many other hospitals. If you love poodles as much as I do then I am sure you will have enjoyed this story about Poodles Who Provide Unconditional Love To Hospital Patients as much as I have.

You can read the original post here


A Poodle Who Brings Joy To Patients And Hospital Staff

The Love From A Poodle Helps Uplift Patients Spirits

There is a four-legged hero that comes to Littleton Adventist Hospital and that hero is A Poodle Who Brings Joy To Patients And Hospital Staff. What I have to point out here is not only does the poodle nicknamed “doctor dog” help raise the spirits of the hospital patients, but also brings a much needed lift to the Nurses and other staff members as well. Check out the story below about how much of an impact the loving care and warm, friendly nature of a therapy dog can have by reading about A Poodle Who Brings Joy To Patients And Hospital Staff.

Caby, which is short for Cabernet Sauvignon, seems perfectly at home in her role as “Doctor Dog,” one of the 9-year-old poodle’s several nicknames. Twice a month, the fluffy black pup dons her official ID badge and prances through the halls of Littleton Adventist Hospital, spreading joy through her mastery of bedside manner.

Caby and her owner, Sandra Berkley, began volunteering for the hospital’s pet visitation program four years ago. The initiative arranges for dog-and-owner teams to travel from room to room, spending time with patients.

“It’s just a wonderful program to be involved in, for me and for Caby as well. She actually looks forward to coming,” Berkley said.

The visiting dogs work wonders to improve most patients’ moods. Berkley shared a story recently about another dog-and-owner tandem that went into the room of an unresponsive man. When the man’s hand was placed on the dog’s head, he opened his eyes.

“We know that pets, particularly dogs, really help people heal. People respond beautiful to animals,” said Catherine Bartley, the hospital’s manager of volunteer services.

Beyond all of the medicine and the treatments one can receive, sometimes it’s the simplest form of healing that is the loving touch of an animal and the kindness of unconditional love that a poodle can bring that makes the most difference in a patient’s day. I know from much personal experience of the power animals have to turn your mood around when you have had a tough day. There is nothing as healing as getting some puppy love or poodle love, as it is the case here with Caby, A Poodle Who Brings Joy To Patients And Hospital Staff.

To see the original source of this story, you can click here.


Puppy Therapy Helps Law School Students Ease Stress

Here’s an example of how Puppy Therapy Helps Law School Students Ease Stress. Almost everyone loves to be around puppies, and some law school students at George Mason University are no exception. According to WTOP, the students at the Arlington campus of GMU are encouraged to take a “puppy break” and play with the litters of puppies that are gathering in Hazel Hall.

Debbie Marson, of Forever Home has been bringing in the puppies and the students love to have the cuddling break from the stressful tension of their studies. It’s a soothing experience for the students and it’s great for the puppies as they get some socialization as well.

From the WTOP article, you can read an excerpt here from the article about how Puppy Therapy Helps Law School Students Ease Stress.

And for now, instead of guzzling lattes and flipping through flash cards, they’re encouraged to pick up the puppies and start snuggling.

Second year law student Lauren Brice cradles a hound mix in her arms. “It’s very soothing. You can’t really be stressed looking at these puppies.”

Debbie Marson with “A Forever Home” dog rescue in Reston says that’s just the idea. She started bringing puppies to the law school’s Arlington campus last spring at the suggestion of a neighbor who happens to work at GMU.

“It’s great for the puppies because they get socialization. It’s great for the students because they get to decompress. And it’s great because for us because it gets the word out about our rescue group,” Marson says.

One group of students jokes it might be nice to have the puppies in the room during finals. “No one dislikes puppies,” says one second year student.

As you can imagine, holding a sweet and cuddly puppy can be an extremely welcome break to those studying the law school textbooks and preparing for a final exam. This practice of bringing the lovable sweet puppies into the University campus will most likely catch on as the word around the school is that Puppy Therapy Helps Law School Students Ease Stress.

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Poodle Mix Helps Children With Reading

Here’s an article with a heart-warming story of how a poodle mix helps children with reading at a local public library. This is a specially trained Labradoodle named Bentley and he is a reading companion that accompanies children in the Foley Public Library at specific days and times.

I thought that this story was of interest because it shows that not only can therapy dogs be an asset to children’s education, but what a great way to get kids to show up at a library and motivate them to sit down with a good book.   As a poodle lover myself, I thought that this was a great story about an excellent program geared towards children, so please read on about the poodle mix helps children with reading.

Bentley, a highly trained, certified “R.E.A.D. Program” Golden Labradoodle will soon join the Foley Public Library’s part time staff!  Thanks to the Reading Education Assistance Dogs® program, Bentley and his human, Lynda Folks, will be in the children’s area of the library waiting for YOU to come by and read! R.E.A.D. dogs are registered therapy animals who volunteer with their handler as a team, going to schools, libraries, and many other settings as reading companions for children.

I thought this was a great example of a creative way to incorporate a trained service dog into a children’s section of a library, making the experience of going to the library that much more enjoyable and exciting for these kids who get to meet Bentley, the poodle mix helps children with reading.

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I learned more about the R.E.A.D. (which stands for Reading Education Assistance Dogs) program by checking out their website which tells all about the program.  Here’s what I discovered about this great program:

The mission of the R.E.A.D. program is to improve the literacy skills of children through the assistance of registered therapy teams as literacy mentors.

The Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program improves children’s reading and communication skills by employing a powerful method: reading to a dog. But not just any dog. R.E.A.D. dogs are registered therapy animals who volunteer with their owner/handlers as a team, going to schools, libraries and many other settings as reading companions for children.

Today, thousands of registered R.E.A.D. teams work throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and beyond. R.E.A.D. is one of those ideas that, in the words of Bill Moyers, “pierces the mundane to arrive at the marvelous.”

Intermountain Therapy Animals, a nonprofit organization, launched R.E.A.D. in 1999 as the first comprehensive literacy program built around the appealing idea of reading to dogs, and the program has been spreading rapidly and happily ever since!


I can see why this would be a great part of any library and would be a terrific addition to any library.  I hope to see this program expanded and really enjoyed learning about how this poodle mix helps children with reading.