Therapy Dogs at HHS

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Therapy Dogs at HHS

Kayla Cabascango, Staff Writer

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Need to relieve some stress?

May 15 was the day therapy dogs were in the school library! These specially trained canines were participating in “Let It Go!” Month and Mental Health Awareness Month to aid in relieving stress. A small action can go a long way, and this was a chance to meet with the dogs. 

Therapy dogs, unlike service dogs, have a different training and are trained to work in a variety of places, including hospitals, schools, and libraries. They work with their owners in these situations to provide a reassuring feeling to the patient or visitor. Therapy dogs must meet specific certifications as well, and are awarded different titles based on how much experience and therapy sessions they have participated in. They do not have specific patients all the time, and can have many individual appointments a day, which contributes to their experience titles.

According to the American Kennel Club, when registered with a recognized therapy dog organization, the number of visits the dog participated in determines their title. 10 visits qualifies for the AKC Therapy Dog Novice (THDN) title. 50 visits qualifies for AKC Therapy Dog (THD) title. 100 visits qualifies for the AKC Therapy Dog Advanced (THDA) title. 200 visits qualifies for the AKC Therapy Dog Excellent (THDX) title. Finally, 400 visits qualifies for the AKC Therapy Dog Distinguished (THDD) title. After gaining a lot of experience, the dogs receive these titles to prove it.

However, there is a large difference between a therapy dog and a service dog. Service dogs are trained to do a specific task or set of tasks to aid someone with a disability or impairment. They must be with their patients at all times, and are permitted in public settings where other dogs would not be permitted. Unlike therapy dogs, they do not work by visits and aid a large group of people. They have a specific task that they have been trained to do and work with their patient the whole time.

In comparison, both types of dogs work to help people with their issues, from stress to blindness.  Being around a dog or another pet can give a sense of companionship and love, which can have positive effects on both the body and mind. 

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