Shelter from the Storm
THERAPY DOGS VISIT SHELTER CHILDREN
Palm Desert, CA - Children of clients residing at the Shelter receive great benefits of visiting therapy dogs twice each month. "Harley" (a black Lab mix) and "Charlie" (a King Charles Cavalier) and their owners, Ann Leiboh (left) and Suzy Walker (right) participate in Animal Assisted Therapy through the local Animal Samaritans organization in Thousand Palms.
It has been proven that petting an animal helps calm people - lowers blood pressure, etc. These dogs are specially trained to interact with children and adults individually or in groups. At the Shelter, the teams visit school classrooms where children may pet, groom and walk the dogs on a lead. Both Charlie and Harley perform a variety of tricks for their young audiences - who are ALWAYS totally delighted!
While visiting older children, the dogs may "listen" to the children read. In this non-judgemental situation, many children (who may not have strong reading skills) will happily read several pages that they might not read in the normal classroom environment.
Dogs involved with Animal Assisted Therapy spend many hours in training and must pass the Canine Good Citizens test before they are allowed to work in special needs classes and health facilities. Once they pass the CGC, therapy dogs must be temperament-tested through Lori Carman, owner of Dream Dogs, who has done this testing on behalf of Animal Samaritans for many years.
We are very grateful for the many hours Suzy and Ann have donated with Charlie and Harley throughout their several years of visiting us.
If you would like to learn more about Animal Assisted Therapy through Animal Samaritans, please contact Elke Naumann, Animal Samaritans - Executive Assistant, (760) 601-3755. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org