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.

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