|Laura Hey with Mingo and Jasper|
Laura is now one of a handful of certified Animal-Assisted Therapists in the country. Health Heelers is a full service therapy dog organization specializing in programs to:
- Aid in human recovery after injury, illness or disability
- Maximize learning and minimize barriers to education
- Promote emotional wellness and personal growth
- Enhance quality of life through safe and positive human-animal interactions
Health Heelers therapy dog teams (i.e. registered handlers and their therapy dogs) undergo very special and extensive training that maximizes their skills in order to provide the greatest possible therapeutic value and outcomes! There is a rigorous evaluation process since not all dogs are comfortable in all environments; temperament plays a key role in matching the right dog to the right situation. Photo to the right is of Max & Chris~ Max is a large (80 lb.), male golden-doodle with a sweet, calm nature, born Nov 1, 2007. Chris and Max have been a Health Heelers team since January 2011. They volunteer at a hospital, schools, colleges, and assisted living facilities.
|Helping College Students before Mid-Term Exams|
Therapy Dogs go out into the community to provide support, contact and comfort. They visit places like nursing homes, schools, and hospitals. There are no legal rights for these dogs and access is by invitation only. The key is that these animals are exceedingly social. There are many other animals that play the “therapy” role including birds, bunnies, miniature horses, guinea pigs, and llamas. These animals have to be naturally social to play this role.
Service Dogs are specifically trained to do tasks for a person with a disability – seeing eye dogs, dogs that turn on light switches, bring medicines and food, provide assistance upstairs, help with panic attacks. And legally service dogs are allowed in all public places including transportation. They perform tasks on queue reliably with the proper training. There are some dogs even trained to see a change in mental state and are able to break the emotional state. Service dogs tend to be naturally goal oriented with a high degree of focus.