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Each and every year, between 6 and 8 million domestic pets get into shelters and 50 percent are euthanized. This is the tale of one dog that defeated the odds and today happens to be a therapy dog.
Dianne DaLee was adapting to life without her much loved dog Simba.
DaLee’s home felt emptier without her little lion running around the halls or cuddling on the couch, despite the fact that DaLee was as well taking care of another dog, 4-year-old Pixie. Following watching Simba’s brief, agonizing fight with cancer previously this year, DaLee believed it was prematurely to take in another animal. Rather, she carried on her work as president of Atlanta Boxer Rescue, supporting a constant flow of dogs discover permanently homes.
About a month after Simba’s death, the boxer rescue group located a seriously wounded dog that required a foster home. DaLee thought taking care of the puppy could well be a very good distraction, and she offered to work as a temporary foster. Kayla the boxer showed up at DaLee’s home in early March with a broken leg. Within just 36 hours, Kayla went through surgery to have her right rear leg fixed, but the injury was so serious that the leg had to be amputated.
Within a couple of days, it started to be obvious that Kayla was no common boxer.
What DaLee observed initially was that Kayla had an extraordinarily calm temperament. She would remain silently while children and adults petted her so long as they desired, then she would run across the dog park with careless abandon. In the dog park, she was just as quick as her four-legged friends.
In under 30 days, DaLee realized Kayla was staying for good, and she made the decision that her good luck in finding her new friend was a valid reason to pay it forward.
“I called a nursing home and said, ‘I have a good, calm dog with three legs’ and asked if they would like her to come visit the residents who live there,” DaLee said. “I brought her up there to meet them and filled out paperwork to become a volunteer, which included volunteer experience and a background check.”
Throughout their initial visits, DaLee and Kayla spent a joyful hour in the main room as residents gathered for snacks and wine. Kayla was an immediate success.
“Since it went really well – I enjoyed it and she enjoyed it – I started Googling ‘therapy dogs’ to see how to get her certified,” DaLee said. “I trained her myself because the testing is a lot like the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen [CGC] test, and I already had been through two CGC training classes with Simba and Pixie.”
Therapy dogs offer companionship and comfort to individuals at facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes or rehabilitation centers. Although rules differ from facility to facility, most demand that the dog know fundamental obedience commands and become registered with a therapy animal organization. Pet Partners, one of the oldest organizations in the country, provides comprehensive info online for handlers and their dogs, which includes skills tests and liability insurance. DaLee registered with Therapy Dogs Inc., which had a identical process that ended with an assessment of Kayla in action.
You can learn more about the important role of therapy dogs in the video below:
DaLee worked well to get Kayla adjusted to the scenery and sounds of medical equipment, which includes wheelchairs and motorized scooters. She likewise walked around the house with crutches so the boxer could understand to nimbly step aside whenever required. Kids in the neighborhood really helped with training too, riding bikes and scooters past the doggie throughout practice sessions.
“It’s a matter of getting them accustomed to stuff happening around them so it doesn’t disturb them or make them anxious,” DaLee said, noting that Kayla exceeded her handling test without any problems.
When she returns home each week, Kayla’s sister Pixie greets her with plenty of sniffing. Sometimes the two dogs have quite a conversation about those therapy visits, which will continue as long as Kayla enjoys them, says DaLee.
“I wanted to share her with other people – especially others who may have had to give up their pets when they moved into a nursing home or facility,” DaLee said. “They say, ‘I wish I could get a dog.’ I say, ‘At 3:30 every Friday, you can have a dog.’”
Does your pet have what it takes to be a therapy dog?
Source: Huffington Post