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Therapy Dogs Lend a Paw to Veterans; Maybe Yours Could, Too

My good blog buddy, the talented Daniela Caride, from The Daily Tail, wrote a wonderful article for Boston.com about how dogs are helping veterans with...

Maria Goodavage  |  Jun 20th 2011


My good blog buddy, the talented Daniela Caride, from The Daily Tail, wrote a wonderful article for Boston.com about how dogs are helping veterans with everything from getting through physical ailments to being able to open up and talk about their wartime experiences.

The guys just love it, Meaghan Lumbis, recreation therapist at the Northampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, told Daniela. When the dogs come in, everything stops, and its all about the dogs.

An increasing number of dog owners are getting their dogs certified to be therapy dogs in order to visit veteran hospitals and hospices, her article reports. If you’ve ever thought about volunteering your dog to do therapy work, this is a very worthwhile cause. Check out these snippets from the article to get a better feel for the ways these dogs contribute to the lives of the veterans:

Sassy greeted a bedridden veteran with a profuse tail wag and licks to the wrinkled face. He laughed and called the dog while Sassy romped in his bed, showing off a pink bone-shaped stuffed toy. Shell get me up for sure! shouted the 90-year-old man, who served the country during World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Dogs trained to assist people…can break significant barriers, influencing individuals to the point they will allow others to help them. The innate intuitiveness of the dog about what a particular person needs is amazing, says the professor [Anita Sacks, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at New York Universitys Langone Medical Center].

My father just couldnt talk to people about the war, says [volunteer Matthew] Owen. And Ive seen that here with these guys. They hold [the dogs] and tell them things. I dont know what theyre saying. Thats their conversation with the dogs.

Read the full article at Boston.com. It may well inspire you to share your dog with others who could really use a helping paw.