Therapy Dogs – Born or Made?

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As many of you know I recently presented a seminar on animal assisted therapy in Naples Florida. (Yes, it'll be out as a DVD later this winter. Happy Dance!) One of the motivations for doing the seminar was the number of clients I had who wanted me to help them prepare their dog for therapy work. Sometimes it was like swimming downstream on a warm, cozy river. Their dog was a perfect fit and ended up doing wonderful work in the community. Other times... well,  it was reminiscent of trying to paddle up a cold, frothy waterfall. The fact is, therapy work can be hard work, and it takes a special kind of dog to be both good at it and to enjoy it. The directors of AAA and AAT (AAActivities and AATherapy) will tell you that one of their greatest challenges is working with people who want to Read More

Give a Dog your Heart – Children’s Book

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There's a new book out for children that is designed to help them cope with the death of their dog. It's titled "Give a Dog your Heart" and is written by Aubrey Fine, Ed.D., a child psychologist who has been using dogs in AAT as long as anyone. I'm not completely objective, Aubrey and I co-authored a chapter in his new Handbook of Animal Assisted Therapy, and I found him to be kind, compassionate and a joy to work with. Still, if I didn't like the book I wouldn't post a note about it. The book is beautifully written and designed, has break your heart photos of a black lab, and a wonderful section at the back for children to use as an album and a journal. Hard as it is, pets are such a good opportunity to help children learn about how to wend your way through the woods when you are Read More

Animal Assisted Therapy Through the Ages

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Aubrey Fine's new book on AAT just came out, Handbook on Animal-Assisted Therapy, and I am pleasantly surprised at how much of general interest is in it. If you've been reading the blog for awhile you might remember that Aubrey and I wrote a chapter for it together on "what therapists need to understand about their co-therapists." I loved working with Aubrey, he and I share so many beliefs and perspectives, and in addition he is such a kind and generous man to work with. We both agreed, as we say in the chapter, that great therapy dogs are often older dogs, who have had a chance to mature and mellow a bit. As I mature (so to speak) I look forward to being semi-retired and  having the time to do AAT or AAA (animal assisted activities). With Willie? Not sure, too soon to say. He is sooo Read More