Friday, April 6, 2012

Therapy Dog

Like most parents of troubled rescue dogs, I'll admit to having an occasional reverie about making Fozzie a therapy dog. 

Never mind that a 75-pound wad of barely contained exuberance, prone to jumping up and thrusting his tongue deeply down the throat of unsuspecting humans, with a tail that thrashes wildly like a bullwhip, is maybe not the best candidate for working in nursing homes or among people who are not in the strongest physical shape.

If we can just overlook all that for a moment though, in some ways he is ideal. I've already mentioned his way of lying down as close to me as he can get at the first sign of emotional trouble.

His sensitivity is not reserved just for his Mom. The other night, my bandmate Geoff was feeling low because an old friend of his had passed away. Of all the people in my living room, Fozzie really zeroed in on Geoff. Geoff was not visibly distressed, but Fozzie seemed to just know. Was he picking up on something, or was it just his love of big guys? 

There's other things besides just his emotional sensitivity. There's his gentleness with children, his velvety-ness of mouth--no matter how delicious the treat he is offered. 

So what if you saw Fozzie's profile on Psychology Today? Would you set up an appointment?


  1. Fozzie definitely sounds like a softie. Very sensitive!

  2. Gosh, I think nothing heals like one of our four-legged friends. Fozzie's sensitivity would be a real plus.

  3. Cuddle therapy with a big, strong dog is the best, best, best!!

  4. Hehe sounds like all the reasons my momma wants to, and doens't want to, make me a therapy dog too!

  5. With his sensitive nature and velvety mouth, I think he's more than half way there. The exuberance will surely dissipate as he matures. Funnily enough, i've lately been thinking that Georgia might have that innate consideration as well (unless she's hungry in which case, she forgets everything but her stomach).

  6. I second Georgia Little Pea - he's on his way :). His sensitivity is striking - and will be a great asset.

  7. We think you would make a great therapy doggy. Us furry ones are already good therapy
    Benny & Lily

  8. My older dog Scout is a Therapy Dog for St. John's Ambulance. The best way to find out if he's ready to be a Therapy Dog is to try! St. John's Ambulance requires you to pass en evaluation prior to visiting, but the evaluation can provide valuable insight for where you need to spend some more time training and socializing. Dogs are always allowed to be dogs, and in numerous occasions dogs that are jumppy seem to understand that it is something they can not do when visiting and settle into the flow and behaviour of visiting. If you ever need more information about the program feel free to ask! Hopefully Kobi will ready for the evaluation soon!

  9. Fozzie is one terrific dog!
    Happy Easter

    Big Nose Pokes
    The Thugletsx

  10. I've thought the same thing about Sampson. Exactly the same thing but Sampson likes to put his big paw on people to get rubbies, I've thought of the paper thin skin older folks had and could just picture him tearing a frail little arm to shreds.

  11. I know I'm really late to the party but I couldn't resist commenting on this.

    Although old age homes and hospitals are most commonly visited by therapy dogs, there are other places where therapy dogs are useful. I spoke to a trainer once who told me about visiting a school for teenage offenders. She said the boys didn't have much fun because all the dogs were, well, you know, therapy dogs. They sat calmly and didn't get all excited.

    She said Honey would have done great in the setting and the boys would have been pleased to see her enthusiasm.

    Fozzie might be a wonderful therapy dog for men in prison or teenagers trying to find their way. It isn't only the ill and the elderly who can use a canine friend. Just a thought...


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