This page will be used to share stories about the ways in which therapy animals make a difference to people in our community. If you have a story and/or photo you'd like to share of a visit, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible inclusion on the website. We love to share the ways our members are helping others!
Layla has been visiting third graders at Mt. Healthy Elementary School with her owner, Shelley Mullee. The students wrote letters to Layla for the end of the school year. They talked about what Layla's talents are, what therapy dogs do for people, what she likes, etc. Here are some excerpts from the letters.
Layla is a good therapy dog who helps when you are scared, mad, sad, or nervous.
Layla visits us to make us feel happy. She likes to swim and she's really good at tricks. She is really good at making people feel better.
She can do a nose trick and she can catch treats that are thrown in the air. Layla is so cute and makes me so happy.
Layla is a good therapy dog for kids at North Elementary. She is so cute.
She makes people happy! Layla loves to swim. She is a golden retriever. She likes other dogs because she has fun.
When she comes into the room she makes me so happy.
Layla is 5 years old. She was born on February 9th. Layla helps people when they are sad.
Layla loves seeing other dogs and likes to play with them. We do not know if she likes cats because she really hasn't been around cats too much.
Layla has obviously made a big impression on the kids she visits and they have learned a lot about her. Most importantly, she is great at her job of helping everyone feel happy! Thanks Layla and Shellee for making these kids happy.
Misty's Story and Her Visit to the Prom
Our organization recently had the opportunity to attend a prom for youth and adults with disabilities at White Oak Christian Church. Our teams were a big hit with everyone that attended. There is a story about one of our dogs that we want to share. Her owners, Larry and Elizabeth told us about Misty.
Can I brag about Misty for a moment? I am so proud of her. You saw her confidence last night, but she wasn't always that way.
Ten years ago, we had just lost our dog and were really unhappy. I asked Elizabeth to find a new dog who needed us as much as we needed her. Elizabeth found "Mona" (now Misty) online in southern Kentucky.
Mona was a stray who had shut down in the shelter. She cowered in the far corner of her kennel, shaking, trying to hide from the world. The shelter said they considered her 'unadoptable' and we adopted her over the phone, sight unseen.
The first 6 months with Misty were rough. We might as well have brought a wild animal into our house. After a lot of obedience training, she turned into a dog. It took another 6 months for her to turn into a best friend. We call that the 'lost year'.
Now we take her everywhere. We take a yearly trip to Michigan Ave. in Chicago, with the police cars, buses, and crowds. She's a pro. She needed someone to trust. Now I tell Misty it's her turn to give back. She is so patient. I tell her every day how proud I am of her.
Thanks Larry and Elizabeth for rescuing Misty, and for recognizing her potential to be an awesome therapy dog!
Gus and his owner Nan visited many facilities around Cincinnati before they moved to Florida. They went to Jewish and Mercy Anderson Hospitals, Crossroads Center (a rehab facility), Turpin and McNicholas High Schools, and UC. This is a story about visiting Crossroads.
Early on in their visits, they met a middle aged man that was diagnosed with PTSD. Not from war, but from a traumatic incident that he had suppressed for years from his childhood. He resorted to drugs to ease this unknown pain. The diagnosis came out in rehabilitation at Crossroads Center in Clifton.
The first day that "Mike" was at Crossroads Center he encountered Gus during the 3:00 smoke break. Mike didn't want to be at Crossroads and was very bitter about his stay. When Mike saw Gus he thought "What the heck? They have dogs here too? This place is so stupid!" He watched the other patients playing with Gus and fussing over him and his thoughts about Gus grew darker. Towards the end of the hour smoke break Mike came over to pet Gus. When Mike returned to his room he suddenly realized that he was smiling, and it was all due to that d@mn dog! The following week when it was dog time, Mike immediately came over to pet Gus. Later he played fetch and asked about the trick commands for Gus. Mike continued to play with Gus each week and finally told Nan his story and what he first thought about dog therapy. He has since graduated from the Crossroads program, and his therapist is helping him obtain a service dog for his PTSD.
Freddy and his owner Fern are visiting a resident at Carriage Court once a month. The resident has memory issues, so she coordinates their visits with the resident's daughter so that she can be there. Other residents and visitors are also encouraged to stop in and see Freddy, which brings many smiles to everyone. In addition, Freddy visits at Ronald McDonald House twice a month. While the kids come to love on the dogs, the parents seem to enjoy having someone to talk to. Fern advises that through the visits she has learned that Freddy wants an aquarium! Whenever they visit a room with an aquarium, Freddy stares and stares at the fish. Fern says that while she can't prove it, she thinks their visits have helped Freddy heal from some of the abuse and neglect he suffered, and if the people they visit get half as much out of the visits as as she does, then it is time well spent.
Thanks for sharing Fern! We certainly appreciate the visits you and Freddy are making, and we are sure those you visit do too!