This dog is Diego. He is 5 years old and is a boxer, lab mix. He has a really good heart. He is calm, curious, and he is brown with black stripes. He really enjoys being outside and will love you.
This cat’s name is Dorsie. She is like a cushion. She is a happy cat that just likes to lie down. She is 5 years old. Dorsie does not move around much, but would be a great cat if you want a calm, easy cat.
On July 6, at the Elm Street Cultural Arts Village, I am going to be a guest on stage with Joe Lemmo and the iThink Improv Troupe. They say it’s going to be a hilarious night and I am super excited to be part of it.
I met with Danielle McAfee and therapy dog Zoey. Danielle is the public relations and communications director for Happy Tails Pet Therapy, and she and Zoey are volunteers with Happy Tails. www.happytailspets.org.
I have a dog named Harper. How would I be able to make her a therapy dog?
Is she friendly? Does she like other dogs? The first step is to go to an orientation and then you do a test, which is similar to an obedience test, and they look at if they are calm meeting other dogs and people, how they are around noise, people on crutches and wheelchairs. If you pass then you start a training program.
What makes a therapy dog a good therapy dog?
The dog must enjoy being petted and being around people. It must have a calm temperament.
What does a therapy dog do?
There are different types of animal-assisted therapy. In our case, we go to hospitals and give love and make people happy. The dogs will jump on the bed and snuggle. We also visit schools and nursing homes.
What does Happy Tails do?
They facilitate volunteer teams, usually two people and two dogs, that go to various events and places like hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, schools and libraries to provide therapy to people who need it.
What do you like most about working for Happy Tails?
I like to share Zoey with people and see how she makes people happy. It is cool to see how dogs respond to different people. They generally respond according to how the person responds to them.
What do you like least about working for Happy Tails?
Maybe it’s that we can’t do it enough. Usually, for the dogs and handlers the requirement is once per month but it all depends on your availability.
What can I do to help you?
Get the word out about Happy Tails. There is a long list of facilities waiting for therapy dogs to visit. Also, there is a need for therapy cats and bunnies, which do not have to pass temperament testing.
What are some cool therapy dogs in Atlanta?
We have so many amazing therapy dogs here in Atlanta. Zoey is definitely one of course. Addison the Sheepadoodle has over 30k followers on Instagram. Then there is Titania who is a 180-pound Cane Corso. She visits psychiatric wards.
What would you like people to know about Happy Tails?
It is really a good way to share your dog. It is flexible and very rewarding both for handler and dog.
Are there any rescue dogs in Happy Tails?
Yes, there are a bunch. There are no breed restrictions and the most common breed we have working is the golden retriever.
By Rob Macmillan of Rob’s Rescues