Pets can bring such joy and happiness to all they encounter. There is something very special about the love and comfort that a pet can provide, even in just a few minutes and meeting them. Of course, dogs and cats can lift you up and help give you hope even when you least expect it. Because of this, hospital therapy dogs are used in communities around the world to help those who need it most. Fortunately, we learned about the work of the hospital therapy dog team Bailey Doodle and Charlie and wanted to share their story. Read on to learn more about how they started and what impact dogs on hospital therapy can have on the human-pet.
Hospital Therapy Dogs: Meet Bailey Doodle and Charlie
Photo Credit: Baileydoodle
Bailey and Charlie are Australian labradoodles. Bailey is nine and Charlie (actually called Charlotte) is five.
How did you get started as a therapy dog team in a hospital?
Funny how we got started!
We had just had Bailey and I trained him as a puppy. I had him in an outdoor mall and got people to give him candy and practice commands with distractions. He was about 4 months old. A couple came forward and saw how smart he was and how good he was with all the strangers, and they suggested it.
We have no children, so we did not engage in the things that many do for volunteer work such as PTA, sports, scouts, etc., so we would buy raffle tickets and donate money to charities. However, it is not the same as doing it yourself. We thought about it, and this seemed like a great way to give back right away and do something as a family.
With that, I did some research on what was involved in becoming a therapy dog, and we went.
19659011] It's a bit of a process, because the puppy must be quite well educated, able to work in different environments and be around many different types of people. Bailey mainly visits Northwell Healths Children & # 39; s Hospital.
The children he sees tend to have some of the more serious problems. Because he does not lose weight and is allergy-friendly, he is perfect for them. It also means that his training must be a little tighter than normal.
For example, things like not eating from the floor, not jumping, not licking and making sure he is not too excited but engaging enough to keep the child's attention. He has proven to be perfectly suited for what he does. As if he was born in it.
What are some of the benefits of a therapy dog?
Some of the benefits are obvious and others minor.
The first thing you see is a big smile on a child's face. A smile that may not have been there for several days.
We had a little girl who was maybe three, who had done a procedure and lay in bed and refused to come out. The nurses tried to get her to walk around, but she refused. Her mother could not do it, and neither could her father. They said she moped for four days. They could not get her to walk around, but it was good for her recovery to move.
Bailey and I went into her room, and as soon as she saw Bailey, her face lit up.
Bailey does many tricks. For example, he can high five, wave hello, play patty cake, beg, balance things on his nose and head, balance food on his nose and turn it and catch it, walk on her hind legs – but what got her was that he can dance. He dances on his hind legs and even does cha-cha. She saw him dancing and she started laughing. Then she got up in bed and started dancing herself. THEN she jumped out of bed and started dancing WITH him. The room started to cry, literally.
I did not know that everyone was crying, but after the visit, the nurse told the story of how she would not get out of bed in four days, and in one minute she danced with Bailey. She danced with him for five minutes and even went down the hall and back a few times. So you can see how it is an obvious advantage. Only the joy they give to the people they meet.
Therapy dogs also benefit humans in less obvious ways. They can help lower blood pressure, reduce pain, reduce stress, help with rehabilitation and a host of other things. Many hospitals have also recognized the benefits and now have resident therapy dogs.
Photo credit: Baileydoodle
What inspires or motivates your work?
We do this as volunteers, so we really do not see it as work at all. Bailey goes and gets hugs and treats while he makes his visits, so even if he "works" I would take that job some day a week.
What motivates us to do that? The appearance of the people we meet. Knowing that we are at a point in their lives when they are going through something can be a bright spot for at least a short time that Bailey and Charlie are with them. Maybe even help them clear their minds of their problems for a few minutes, and if it helps their recovery, it's a bonus.
How can someone benefit from a therapy dog?
Therapy dogs are different from emotional. Support dogs by being for someone else's comfort as opposed to an emotional support dog, which is for your comfort. So anyone can benefit from having one by being able to volunteer and experience the joy of sharing their puppy with others who can benefit from the experience.
The advantage you would get is that you know that you are helping someone else and that you are giving your puppy a purpose in addition to being a fantastic pet.
What do Bailey Doodle and Charlie want to do for fun?
Bailey and Charlie are pretty busy puppies, ha. We live in NY just outside the city so we spend a lot of time in the city. We love finding dog-friendly places.
They LOVE to travel. They've been all over the country from Oregon to San Diego to Florida to Maine and most of the points in the middle, ha. They have also eaten on black ties on New Year's Eve, stayed at Presidential Suites in hotels and then rolled in the sand on a beach.
They just love to explore. Whether it's a thousand miles away or running in a park or surfing the beach. As long as we are all together, they are happy.
Any organizations, causes or projects you are currently involved in?
We try to support things we believe in. After Hurricane Harvey, we raised money to buy 6,000 kg of food for displaced puppies in Florida, and we drove it down to Orlando. Then we worked at the Red Cross the week we were there, visiting the workers and trying to lift our spirits.
We always try to support things like Foster Dogs, NY Blood Center and Ronald McDonald House.
Photo Credit: Baileydoodle
Hospital Therapy Dog Team Bailey and Charlie Help Spread Happiness to All They Meet
Whether Bailey and Charlie volunteer at a hospital, charity, or community event they love to interact with all the people they meet.
From coast to coast, the Baileydoodle Hospital Therapy Dog Team enjoys spreading happiness, smiles and cuddles wherever they go.
Thank you for sharing your story with us Baileydoodle! For more information on the Baileydoodle journey, check out more stories here.
To Learn More About Inspirational Dogs, Children's Books About Dogs: Ivy the Very Determined Dog