April 11th is National Pet Day, and also Dog Therapy Appreciation Day! Not a day goes by that we don’t appreciate our dogs, but there is a special place in our hearts for therapy dogs.
You may be wondering if therapy dogs are the same as service dogs, the answer is that they are similar but different. The primary difference between the two is that a service dogs performs their task for one specific individual, while therapy dogs are able to provide their services to many people. Much like service dogs, therapy dogs are put through rigorous testing programs to become certified in their trade. Having this certification allows them to visit places like hospitals and nursing homes to provide comfort to the people there.
Therapy dogs typically start out as someone’s pet, but once trained and active in their duties they are working dogs. Some qualities that therapy dogs have are a well-mannered disposition, reliability, predictability, and controllable at all times. These dogs also need to be willing to engage with people and to love being around them, so sociability is a must.
Therapy dogs are best a putting a smile on people’s faces! If you often see or interact with a therapy dog, be sure to say thank you today! Even better, find out what their favorite treat or type of toy is and return the gesture of kindness these dogs give on a daily basis.