Mental Health News Radio

Calling All Dog Lovers

It’s safe to say that from a dog lovers stand point, therapy dogs are well known for their loving nature and their feeling of need. Meaning how they feel after helping their humans when someone needs them. What most dog lovers don’t know is that it takes a very special “breed” of person to be a therapy dog’s handler and to work side by side with them day in and day out helping them prove their abilities in care and healing. This special breed of people is inside of us (those of us who have it), yearning to get out and make a difference in the lives of others.
It’s never too late. If you are knowledgeable of dogs and have some concept of their behavoir, if you are someone who has ample time to throw into the fast paced life of a therapy dog handler than you may be needed more than you realize. http://dogs.about.com/od/workingdogs/p/therapy_dogs.htm  There are loving dogs out there of many breeds, just waiting for that perfect handler and perfect situation where they can give to others and help people of all ages. It’s a beautiful thing and you willl feel blessed to be a part of it.
By gaining the knowledge you will need to develop and follow a busy therapy schedule that is just right, yet not too busy for your loving kanine, the two of you will be off to a good start. It’s always good to know what kinds of dog breeds work better for what specific types of problems and disabilities as well. http://www.therapydogcertification.com/5-best-therapy-dog-breeds/ This way you will feel more at ease about planning your dogs future endeavors and more comfortable with your plans and your scheduling. Either way, if you’re a dog lover this might be a job for you.

Written By: Nicole Blazer

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A Red Letter Week!

What a great week we had last week.  On Thursday night our friend Kelly, who is an artist with a camera, came over to photograph Myles and I for his new web site.  She brought her adorable, five year old daughter Malia and Jade who is the daughter of our blogger Nicole.   She was able to get some great shots of us, as well as, the rest of Myles siblings.  We will post those in a couple of weeks.   We had such a blast and she actually got some pictures of me that I don’t hate – MIRACLE.  I cannot believe the picture below – Myles looks like he is smiling.
Friday was probably the best therapy dog day for Myles and I this year.  I don’t know how it happened either since I was working on about 2 hours of sleep.   I still got up and went for a swim and worked out for an hour with my trainer and great friend Diane.  She spent ten minutes listening to me grump while I stretched.   When she told me to do twenty burpees I thought I would pass out from exhaustion.  Myles, being welcome at the gym, rolled over on his back and I swear he rolled his eyes at me, “piece of cake.”  

Later on I drove Myles to Appalachian Community Services and then MedWest Hospital as we do every Friday.

I never know what the visits will be like or if anyone wants to do group therapy with him.  It’s always better for us when the staff are involved.  At both places the rooms were full.  People were engaged, laughing, crying, and rolling around on the floor with us.   I have figured out something that helps people let their guard down.  I forgo sitting on chairs and go straight for the floor.  This especially helps with kids.  I like to look them straight in the eyes while they are talking to me.

Myles was in a great mood.  Even some of the doctors came in and got on the floor.  I know the counselors need him just as much as the patients.   There is nothing like getting off the elevator at the hospital and having the counselors smiling, jumping up and down, and excited that Myles is in the building. 

Because we have been going to the hospital for three years, Myles OWNS the 6th floor.  I have to run to keep up with him as he makes his way to the community room.   No one cared about dog slobber.  No one was disturbed when he barked.  Even those few that preferred to sit outside the circle ended up joining in the fun. 

Getting him to roll over is always an event.  He is very big for a Border collie – a gentle giant.   Several people were able to coax him to roll over and when he did people were laughing, clapping, and cheering.  I think we both were skipping as we left the hospital. 

It’s moments like these that make my day because Myles is just pure joy and spreads that sunshine all over anyone that touches him.  He is infectious.  

When people don’t want us to leave and these are people that were very, very sad before Myles arrived – it makes me realize how important it is to keep showing up each week.  Who knows how many people Myles will have touched in his lifetime?   And how did I deserve such an amazing dog?  Lucky…….
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A Companion For All

    Looking for a companion, yet you have certain anxieties and fears that are standing in your way? Do these fears stop you from feeling completely free to choose whichever kanine companion you are wanting? Well, there are several breeds of therapy dogs that could be just the right match for you. You have the choice between golden retrievers, border collies, german shepards, labrador retrievers, standard poodles, etc. Really, almost any breed can be trained specifically as a therapy dog, certain breeds just work better for better things.
    For instance, labs work better with the blind, because they are extremely intelligent and non aggressive. For those with limited mobility, such as arthritis, a bullmastiff is the right choice in therapy dog breeds. Other dog breeds such as greyhounds and beagles are great working dogs as well. No matter how you look at it, there is a companion for all when looking for the right kanine for you. The species is just meant to be man’s best friend, and they do for man whatever is needed in some cases. If you think about it, we are very lucky to have such a loyal species by our side, always ready to take on whatever is needed and help us however we need them too.
    It’s very nice to know that we have these special breeds of dogs that have our backs. Think about how often we hear in the news about dogs saving us and coming to our rescue when we need it. They are very loving and nurturing and their intelligence combined with this makes them just what we need. They truly are our companions.

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Almost a No Show

Myles was limping a little bit on Friday morning.  I noticed it just as we were leaving for Appalachian Community Services.  I also forgot his therapy dog bag.  This is a must have for visits.  It is filled with tennis balls (several so I can swap them out as they get too slobbery), dog treats, a brush, paper towels, a water dish, and his therapy dog registration papers.  I could have gone without the bag just this once, but the limp concerned me.
This is what happens.  If your dog is not up for a visit you have to cancel and sometimes at the very, last minute.   By the time 3:00 PM rolled around the limp was gone and he was fine to get to MedWest for group therapy. 
It was a great visit.  I kept the jumping and running to a minimum.  My favorite thing is when someone that wants to be in the room but refuses to pet Myles or play with him, finally lets go and plays with him anyway.   Myles stays away from them for a while and then somehow the ball makes its way in their direction with him staring intently as if coaxing them, “Come on – it’s okay.  Let’s play”.   The counselors always look shocked when he does this as they scribble feverishly in their notepads.   I also realize he just may not be able to do two visits in one day for much longer.
And he needs that summer shave!

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Look carefully in each picture for the cat as it makes its way down from the roof to the dog. 

I was emailed this story but I have no idea who the author or photographer is but the story behind the picture is this:

Every day – at the same time – she waits for him. Sometimes she barks to call him. He comes; they rub and greet each other and they go for a walk. They have done this for 5 years and no, they don’t belong to the same owners. The owners didn’t know until neighbors seeing them together so frequently commented to the cat’s owner, who then followed the dog home which was a distance away – not in a house close or next door. How it started no one knows.

Makes me think of Myles and his cat Bella.  I don’t care where Bella is, the moment she hears Myles outside playing ball she comes flying out of the tundra to rub noses with him.  She positions herself as flat as possible on the ground so that he has to jump over her to bring the ball back to me.

Crazy cat….
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