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Dog therapy helps residents

Published on January 27th, 2010

The Intelligencer had an article about dog therapy in nursing homes.  Therapy dogs walk the halls and sit at the feet of residents of nursing homes and hospital patients, putting smiles on faces. In addition, they visit assisted living facilities, children’s reading programs and libraries, assist with stress relief, do home visits, visit hospices, schools and shelters throughout the year.

At Mound View Health Care in Moundsville, in addition to resident facility bulldog Betsy, therapy dogs have been visiting for several years. Connie Smith of Moundsville and her dog, Shadow Dancer, have been visiting the facility for more than four years.  Shadow Dancer, a Shetland sheepdog is now semi-retired after making about 150 regular visits, but the dog still makes an occasional return. Smith said she now has a younger dog that is making the visits.

Randy Moore of St. Clairsville and his boxer mix, Sierra, have made more than 200 visits at different facilities around the Ohio Valley.

"There are not enough therapy dogs," he noted. "I think every place needs therapy dogs. It’s amazing what they can do. They can actually help bring someone’s blood pressure down and reduce stress."

Therapy Dogs International is an organization that provides therapy dogs for hospitals and other facilities. "The dogs need to be trained," he noted. They have to be able to pass a 16-part test.  Most hospitals require dogs to have TDI certification before they are allowed to visit.   It ensures the dogs have the right temperament and meet insurance requirements.

Smith said anyone who might want to get involved with TDI and bring a dog for training can call her at 304-845-7829. Moore suggested looking at the TDI Web site www.TDI-dog.org.

Joe Pioletti
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