Sheltie Nation

Therapy smiles

Murphy is well on his way to becoming a certified therapy dog.  He already has the smile mastered!

I’m smiling too Elizabeth!  :))

13 Responses »

  1. Glad to see another Sheltie doing therapy work. I’ve just started with our Toby, and he is doing a great job. Like Murphy, he is a bit shy, but he is the perfect guy to lift up onto a hospital bed and squeeze between a bedridden resident and the siderails. He lies quietly and lets the Alzheimer patients talk to him and pet him — when they won’t talk to humans, they will hold entire conversations with my dog. He doesn’t really appreciate preschoolers, but he will sit patiently with elementary students and show interest in the books while they read to him. There is room in the therapy field for Shelties, even the kinda shy ones. The patients are first enamored of the beauty of the dog, and then their hearts are captured by the gentleness and love a Sheltie shares with them.

    If you want to look into doing therapy work, go to the Delta Society webpage. There are many registering organizations, but some, like Therapy Dogs International (TDI), will not let you cross-register with other organizations. I chose Delta because I also want to offer the R.E.A.D. program through Intermountain Therapy Animals, and Delta allows me to register with other programs. Depending on the organization you want to register with, you might do a correspondence course and then be evaluated by a live trainer, or attend a workshop followed by testing.

    Toby and I actually tested for his Canine Good Citizen certificate with TDI, and had to take the therapy test at the same time, as they don’t divide the test. He passed all parts, but only accepted the CGC certificate, as we don’t want to be limited by TDI’s policies. We will do the Delta workshop, testing and registration at our first opportunity next March. Meanwhile, we are already working on a “training” basis, and learning a lot. We have passed an obedience course, and Toby is a very well mannered dog, so I don’t worry about his behavior. I have good control over him, and we are able to roll with whatever happens when we’re working.

    A good book to read, if you want to really get down to the fundamentals of training a therapy dog, is “Therapy Dogs — Training Your Dog to Reach Others” by Kathy Diamond Davis. It’s available online through many vendors. Her book gave me the knowledge and courage to start training Toby by myself, and we’re doing fine. She has also answered a few questions for me via email, and is a wonderfully kind resource for new therapy teams.

    Thanks, Murphy, for inspiring new therapy teams, and good luck in your work. Don’t let shyness hold you back — you have a lot to offer those who need some unconditional love and a doggy smile!

  2. He could be from the same litter as my dog – like twins!

  3. “Take two Murphy kisses and call me in the morning” ;)

  4. He’s just what the doctor ordered!

  5. This gorgeous boy will bring many, many smiles. I’m a nurse in a hospital and I know how much happiness the therapy dogs bring, both to patients and staff! If I’m having a really hard day, petting a great dog for a few moments just lightens my load! I’d LOVE to see Murphy coming down the hallway!
    Congratulations and THANK YOU for volunteering this way.

  6. Oh my goodness, what a gorgeous face!! Just makes me want to cover his little furry face in happy kisses!!! You’re a good boy, Murphy for helping lots of people!!!

  7. That look, those eyes and the smile! He’s melted my heart. Guaranteed he’ll be a wonderful therapy dog. And on top of that, he’s so beautiful. Lucky you, Elizabeth.

  8. You can see the love in his eyes. What a sweetie!! :)

  9. Great job Elizabeth and Murphy! I have wanted to do it as well…. how do you get started?

  10. He is a very, very handsome pup!

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