Mental Health News Radio

Even The Average Love On A Grande Scale

As a pet owner myself, I have always been fascinated with the love of animals, especially dogs. They just have a way of knowing exactly when those they love are in need of that love and affection more than usual. Whether you are sick, depressed, upset about something, or just plain lonely, they are right there to cheer you up and check on you making sure that you are okay. In fact, dogs are the most loyal animals that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I’ve had cats, fish, guinea pigs, etc. but dogs take the cake when it comes to human companionship and compassion. They are all so loving and so concerned for those they share a connection with and from what I am learning now through Myles, this concern spreads to those they come in contact with who may be complete strangers, as with therapy dogs.

I find it to be a beautiful thing how the species is so connected to our feelings and is right there wanting to be your personal savior when needed and is more like a big security blanket than a pet at times. I guess this is why they are truly man’s best friend. I believe it is a must need for a child to have a dog to share this bond with throughout their lives, considering all of the ups and downs that children encounter in their young lives. From school age issues, such as class work stress, friendship troubles and bullies and even boyfriend/girlfriend issues as they get in high school, to problems with their parents as adolesents often go through due to their own hormones and mood swings caused by life. These things bring them down and put them in a position of sometimes needing a friend to just listen and not speak. Who better to have around then the four legged friend that is always there to cheer them up, loving them in a way no one else can.

I have personally seen my own furbabies come running if they even heard a raised voice in the home or an upset tone, a tear falling or a whisper of sadness. Their love is unconditional and always there. Dogs love on a grande scale, even the average who weren’t trained to be therapy dogs. I know I love my dogs as though they were my children. I call them my BIG babies…

Written By: Nicole Blazer

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Writing Is Not “Just Writing”

Who ever said, “Writing is just writing!” should try it sometime. I have been a writer since a young child (those are some interesting reads) and I can tell you, writing is not just writing. You have to feel passion for what it is you are writing about, otherwise you are just putting words to paper and there is no meaning. I happen to love what I do and since meeting Myles several years ago, at a time I never thought I would someday write for “him” I am pleased to say I love getting to research more and more about therapy dogs and all they do. I especially love how they make others feel. It’s such a beautiful thing, their connection to the human race. They were put here to be with us and to understand us, of this I am convinced. Especially now that I am really getting to know Myles. He is wonderful and I love reading my boss’ posts about their days at work together and how Myles acted around the group he saw that day or how he ever so patiently waited for her commands to go be his loving self. He is such a joy.

I believe now what they say, do what you love and love what you do. I have wanted to write for a living all of my adult life and for such a genuine cause and to spread such a loving word about such an amazing service that is offered out there for so many is something to be passionate about, let me tell ya. I need more pictures of Myles in action to add to my blogs about him with all of these kiddos. He is such a kind soul and so loving. He was meant to do what he does and loves every minute of it from all that his handler reveals to us. 🙂 If you could meet him yourself, you would see the compassion in his eyes and notice right away that he is filled with love.

Written By: Nicole Blazer
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Animal Therapy in a Child’s Life……

My Interview with a friend…

1.When looking for a program with therapy horses for Cameron, was there specific criteria you were looking to fill?
When Cameron had his first tumor removed he developed cerebellar mutism which caused him to lose the ability to talk, walk, eat, use of his fine and gross motor skills. We also were told that the doctors think he had a stroke which caused to have severe right side weakness. All of these complications along with the damage from the tumor put Cameron in a rehab hospital for a month and then we were referred to an outpatient therapist. As you probably already know insurance will only cover the minimum amount of therapy and I knew that he needed more therapy. His therapist suggested the horse therapy to me and I immediately went over there and feel in love from the first visit. I have to admit at the time I wasn’t really looking for a specific criteria, but just looking for a place that would offer more therapy at a reasonable cost.

2.Did the program you chose work specifically with children with cancer/leukemia, or did they help children with disabilities as well?
 How long did Cameron benefit from this type of therapy and did you see a lot of benefits on his part or just happiness, which gosh     knows he deserved…
The program that Cameron is in works with children of all different kinds of disabilities.

3.Would you recommend horse therapy to others you have come in contact with throughout your family’s battle with childhood cancer?
Cameron is still currently in the program, but is on a temporary leave due to the most recent tumor. He has been taking the hippo therapy for almost three years now. I have seen some much improvement since he started there. The ranch has been a huge part of his recovery, I actually feel that they have done more for him than the medical therapy that he does three days a week. The love of being outdoors and being able to ride the horses does bring him so much joy that he doesn’t really notice that he is working hard. I would highly recommend it to anyone who’s child needs extensive therapy or lacks in social skills. I actually have recommended the ranch to many people.

4.Do you have pets at home and if so, did Cameron seem to show a stronger or just different connection with the therapy horse than he did with his own animal?
We unfortunately had to give our pets to a family member because we were in the hospital for so long and there was a period of time that Cameron had to stay away from animals because of his pic line. We were able to keep our cat because she can take care of herself while we have hospital stays, but our two dogs are with a family member. I can’t really say if I see a stronger bond with the therapy horse because Cameron was so young when he was first diagnosed that he didn’t really have much of a bond with our dogs. He loves our cat, but she only wants to play when she feels like it.

Written By: Nicole Blazer Continue Reading

Keeping The Anxious Anxious

Who knew that there was such a difference between therapy dogs and service dogs? 

After doing my own research, I discovered that there are many different specifications and requirements for service dogs and that life is a bit more laid back for the therapy dog, even though they are just as hard working. One good web site I found that was very informative is HERE.
Are Service dogs and Therapy dogs used for the same thing?
This can be a tricky thing, the differences between therapy dogs and service dogs creates all of sort of guidelines and rules for the use of each. I was reading up on anxiety and what one has to go through to have a service dog accompany them places to avoid their problems with this mental disorder. It is apparently not acceptable for them to use a therapy dog for anxiety and so they must have this specified. This is also a big deal in Canada and they have classes for people to train their dogs in obedience just for this purpose. 
It seems to me that if a dog is helping you that significantly that you truly need it by your side and are frozen without it, then there should be no question, and no provisions. Rather than jumping through hoops to be able to feel at ease while doing things, you should just be able to have that therapy dog by your side whenever needed. People seem to be judged by others so quickly that they are now referring to rule books (so to speak) to not feel so judged and to not get into trouble by using the wrong dog for the wrong disability or illness. Life just shouldn’t have to be this hard.
Written By: Nicole Blazer
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When the Handler Needs to be Handled

We missed one visit today.  Just could not get away from work which I always regret but is necessary sometimes.   We did make it to the hospital though.   I am so glad we made it because I needed the visit more than the patients.

It is blessed relief to unplug for a few and focus on nothing but Myles and the patients.  All that armor that you sometimes have to wear is left in the lobby.  Visits are about people connecting – with me and with Myles.

I realized when I was getting out of the car that Myles was wearing a collar that said JASMINE on it and I had no leash.  So I fashioned a makeshift collar out of one of his Therapy Dog vests and went in the hospital anyway.  Too tired to be worried about it.

The door opened to the behavioral health unit and I felt about 50 years of garbage float off of me.   Man, it feels good to just get on the floor and talk to people.  Some of the best and most honest people I have ever met are those that are getting help at the hospital.

Because we have been going for over three years now it feels so comfortable.  There is a sense of familiarity – family when we come in.

Needed this visit today for my own mental health.

Submitted by Kristin Walker Continue Reading

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