In August, 2012, Maxx received his certificate for his AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) 10-step test. The instructor commented to me at the time how she’d never seen an intact male so calm and laid back. In May 2013, he received his Award of Distinction from Therapy Pals a therapy dog group of Golden Triangle Dog Club in Denton, TX, recognized by AKC. Maxx is working toward his AKC Therapy Dog Title (THD) and once he completes 50 visits and Therapy Pals confirms to AKC, he will receive his THD title. Maxx and I went through 4 weeks of training and then Maxx had to pass a test and I had to pass a written test. We were mentored for 3 months before we received our certificate. We graduated the day we attended the Special Olympics in Arlington, TX. We visit nursing homes, children events, rehab centers, at least twice a month, sometimes more if schedule permits. Maxx is such a natural and his instructor said I could quote her after his Special Olympics and then his visit at Dr. Ozier’s Patient Appreciation Party:
“I think Maxx is an exceptional dog and I am glad he loved being with the kids.”
“Maxx really is a cool guy!”
When we visit nursing and rehab centers, the smiles on the people’s faces is so rewarding, along with the hugs and kisses he receives from them. He just instinctively knows what to do whether it is to stretch his neck and head so the patient in bed can pet his head, or put his head in their lap. When we visit blind people, they love to feel his velvety ears and head. Then I take his vest off and help them feel his ridge and explain why he has the ridge, and they just break out in a big grin to be able to feel the ridge. When we visit patients who can’t talk, but they try, Maxx looks at them and cocks his head side-to-side like he knows what they are saying to him. The children say he has a Mohawk and are fascinated with his ridge, and call the others over to see the dog with the Mohawk. One child at the Special Olympics wanted to know if I would donate Maxx to him. Below are some photos of Maxx and me visiting people in the area | Southwind Farms Therapy Work:
What is a Therapy Dog?
Therapy dogs are dogs who go with their owners to volunteer in settings such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. From working with a child who is learning to read to visiting a senior in assisted living, therapy dogs and their owners work together as a team to improve the lives of other people. Therapy dogs are not service dogs. Service dogs are dogs who are specially trained to perform specific tasks to help a person who has a disability. An example of a service dog is a dog who guides an owner who is blind, or a dog who assists someone who has a physical disability. Service dogs stay with their person and have special access privileges in public places such as on planes, restaurants, etc. Therapy dogs, the dogs who will be earning the AKC Therapy Dog™ title, do not have the same special access as service dogs. It is unethical to attempt to pass off a therapy dog as a service dog for purposes such as flying on a plane or being admitted to a restaurant.