In order to become a therapy dog, the dog simply has to pass a behavioral test to show that they have the appropriate temperament for the job. Then, the owner walks them through a hospital or nursing home and they spend time with the patients or residents, brightening up their day. The dogs in the book I read about really enjoyed their work and seemed to intuitively know how to best help the people they were serving.
After reading the book, I briefly thought about the possibility of one day volunteering with Apple as a therapy dog. He obviously isn't cut out for it right now, as he is still a puppy and has too much energy, but if he calms down after his 2nd birthday it could be a possibility for us. He is a very smart breed so he should have the capacity for the job.
Today, I actually had the pleasure of seeing a therapy dog in action. My husband was there, too, and we had a great time interacting with him. This dog was a HUGE Newfoundland named Ranger and would just lie on the floor, all stretched out, for people to pet him. He was literally like a very gentle bear. I talked to his parents a little bit about his therapy work and it was awesome to tell them about the book I had just read.
|This is not Ranger, but it looks just like him!|
Be sure to look for my book review of Dogs and the Women Who Love Them, coming soon!