My Student Service Project – Canine Therapy
Whether we are sick, in mourning, in trial, or frustrated, there is something that can always put a smile upon our face. It never complains, is never unhappy, rarely afraid, and is always there when we need it. Wagging a friendly tail, dogs make our face break into a grin and give us hope for the future. When the going gets rough, they lick away all our tears. Studies show that simply stroking a dog lowers the human heart rate and reduces blood pressure. Encouraging us through their kind eyes and warm hearts, dogs make us feel wanted and give us strength during the most difficult times in our lives.
Hi, my name is Emily Brown, and my dog Holly and I want to bring this canine therapy to Kingman, Arizona’s, local hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. I want to see the smiles on those patient’s faces when my dog Holly gives them a high five after their long hard recovery. I want to hear the laughter of depressed people when Holly steals things out of my pocket. And I want to see the children whose parents have tossed them aside throwing their arms around Holly’s neck and refusing to let go.
A year ago Holly and I passed the first step towards casting sunshine upon these people’s lives. We passed the AKC (American Kennel Club) Canine Good Citizen test. Holly and I then began Kingman Therapaws’ training program that prepares handlers and their dogs for Delta Society’s (the organization which insures therapy dogs) aptitude and skills test. Discovering the costs of taking aptitude and skills test, being insured with Delta, buying the uniform required for our team, and having Holly checked by a veterinarian would top $300, I reluctantly set my dream aside.
While I knew the chances were slight that Holly and I would ever really become a therapy team, I have never stopped hoping. All year while I pressed on in my school work, Holly and I have kept practicing. Taking Holly many different places, I improved her stability and attitude by exposing her to various situations that we might encounter in our therapy work. I have also taught Holly many fun tricks to share. Currently Holly can bow, rear up and paw like Trigger, shake, untie my shoes, jump through a hoop, and play lame. Tricks like these I know will bring a sure smile to even the most depressed patient’s face giving them hope for the future.
With your financial assistance Kingman’s residents can enjoy Holly’s doggy therapy, and I can do what I love. In January of 2008, Kingman Therapaws Inc. is again beginning their preparatory training for the aptitude and skills test. Holly and I will go, learn the tasks required, and pass the test with flying colors. Then, with your help Holly can have her veterinary check; we can buy the uniform, and we can become liability insured with Delta Society for two years.
By the spring of 2008 I want to be setting off with Kingman Therapaws as they make their rounds to Kingman’s school district. I can hardly wait to see the wonder in the children’s eyes when we arrive to brighten their day. Holly will be wiggling gleefully as the children swarm around petting her soft coat. She will look into their eyes and ease their cares and concerns. The children will love reading to us and our canine partners. Math skills of these youngsters will improve once Holly pulls out her times tables and shows them how she can count. Perhaps more than anything though the children will benefit from the simple love and respect these four legged friends teach so well. Whether it is their first year in school and they are struggling with being away from home or just having a rough time in their life, Holly’s quiet security will reassure all the children and let them know they are loved.
I also plan to visit Kingman Regional Medical Center and our local nursing homes. Holly will perform all her tricks for the residents, and I hope that every time we visit the patients Holly will have a brand new trick prepared for them. We will get the residents involved and soon they’ll be back on their feet. Holly can sense someone in pain, and I can only imagine the comfort she will give as she lays her black velvet muzzle upon the bed of a patient who is unable to even reach out and caress her. A glimmer of hope will illumine that patient’s face and for a moment he will forget the situation he is in and focus on the friendly visitor that brought sunshine into his room.
Holly and I want to join our local Kingman Therapaws group and help bring this canine therapy to our city. We want to make the children and adults know that people do love and care about them. With your help in the financial department, we should be ready for two years of entertaining and bringing hope to our community. We will snuggle up to the little girl who is scared of being away from her parents for the first time, and Holly will make the nursing homes walls ring with laughter when she takes a bow without even a cue, for Holly and I will be partners in bringing smiles to Kingman, Arizona.