Rebecca Medina, a dog behaviorist and trainer at The Behavior Barn, an extension of the Day Hollow Animal Hospital located at 345 Day Hollow Rd. in Owego, N.Y. is hosting a “Therapy Dog Night” on Monday, March 27 starting at 6 p.m.
The event introduces the Tioga County chapter of a certified animal assisted therapy program, which was formed in February, and also a chapter of the non-profit, Paws for Friendship (PFF). The mission of PFF, an organization of volunteers, is to share the unconditional love of their personal pets with people in need.
The March 27 event is designed as a meet and greet where adults and children will have the opportunity to get information and ask questions about how to certify their dogs to become therapy dogs.
On hand at the event will be several local certified therapy dogs as well as one other therapy pet, a guinea pig.
Although the event will be held at The Behavior Barn, the therapy pet group is considered separate from the barn’s training classes as well as separate from the hospital.
Different than the role of service dogs that serve an individual in everyday life activities, the specialized training of therapy dogs encompasses many other aspects and supports a wider audience. Therapy dogs provide emotional and social support to school students, libraries, elder care and veterans facilities, hospitals, and cancer units and hospice, just to name a few.
PFF, a non-profit founded in 1993, has chapters all throughout the United States. In addition to the new Tioga County chapter, there is also a chapter in neighboring Broome County.
PFF promotes to an owner that sharing their pets with others opens doors and makes a considerable difference for people in need. When certified as a therapy pet, the pet gives unending compassion and love, and is a catalyst for healing. The program was designed to reach out to anyone in need and is intended for adults and children of any age.
One of PFF’s programs, the “Paws to Read” program, helps children with learning difficulties regain confidence with a goal to improve literacy skills via assistance of certified therapy dogs and their handlers as literacy mentors. While participating in “Paws to Read”, children read directly to a pet and its owner, and any problems that surface are comforted by the calmness of the pet and the understanding of the owner.
“Children are encouraged to attend,” Medina said, adding, “They will enjoy the chance to read a story to our special guests, local certified therapy dogs.”
Medina explained that therapy dogs recently visited Riverview Manor in Owego as a testing site and were in turn able to be certified after their visit, just one of many examples of how therapy dogs can help improve the lives of people.
For more information, contact Rebecca Medina at The Behavior Barn by calling (607) 687-1750, or find information on Facebook or on the web at dayhollowanimalhospital.com.