Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Make Your HOTLR Dog a Therapy Dog

I have two HOTLR alumni in my home. Susie came to us three years ago. And then, exactly, to the day, two years after Susie, Tango joined the Stellfox clan. At last count, that makes 4 Labradors and two humans living under my roof. And I love it!!!

Once you meet me, it takes about 10 seconds for you to find out that I love Labs and that I have four at my house. I am so proud of my canine kids. I can't help but talk about them all the time. I love to show them off on Facebook or at HOTLR events, or to my friends, or at my veterinary clinic. I can never get enough of showing them off and talking about HOTLR. Embarassingly, I often have to admit that the dogs I adopted from HOTLR are way better behaved than the two I've raised from pups. But, that simply helps to balance out my family and makes it even easier to brag about HOTLR.

But what if I could take the amazing animals that HOTLR has given to me, and give something back to the community? What if my HOTLR Labs could become Pet Therapy dogs? What a great way to share my dogs with people and also spread the word about HOTLR.

Therapy Pet Pals of Texas, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that began in 1984 with one small Pekingese pup and an owner who wanted to share this pup with those people unable to have pets. She contacted a nursing home that reluctantly agreed to have her pup come for an "interview". Once the dog visited the nursing home, the smiles and happiness that this little pup brought to the home's population sealed the deal and Therapy Pet Pals of Texas was born. Today, Therapy Pet Pals of Texas has over 200 trained volunteers and even more pets. They service over 90 institutions including nursing homes, hospitals and rehabilitation centers, but TPPT is still working to recruit new members.

Requirements for membership include attendance and completion of the TPPT Qualifying and Training class (2 hours) as well as a veterinarian's medical clearance. Once the class is completed, the prospective member and pup will attend three therapy visits along with an experienced TPPT trainer. After successful completion of the trial visits, you and your pup are ready for solo trips. Click here to find out all the details on qualifying your pup as a pet therapy volunteer.

As a volunteer team for TPPT, you will choose one institution to visit with your pup that will be come your "home" institution. TPPT asks for two visits per month to your chosen pet therapy site. TPPT believes in promoting the human animal bond by having regular visits by the same pet/human therapy team. Regular visits allow residents and the pet therapy team to foster friendships and relationships and allow patients to feel that they have their very own dog again. What better way to show off your HOTLR pride and joy!!

To find out more about Therapy Pet Pals of Texas, visit their website at: Therapy Pet Pals of Texas.


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