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D2006-16

Dear Daisy Dog

I adopted a gentle, affectionate bichon from the humane society. Her temperament with strangers of all ages is wonderful. How do I learn about training her to become a therapy dog?

Daisy Responds

Several of my dog friends volunteer as therapy dogs. A pug friend visits the library where she provides encouragement and a non-judgmental attitude while children read to her.
Other dog friends visit people in schools, rehabilitation hospitals and nursing homes.

Still others comfort disaster victims and emergency workers.

To determine whether your dog is capable of becoming a therapy dog, read the description of the Therapy Dog International test on the Web site, www.tdi-dog.org.

Check the Web site or call TDI at 973-252-9800 for test dates and locations around the country.

To prepare for the test, contact your local dog obedience training club about therapy dog training.

If your local club does not have a therapy dog program, contact the Delta Society at 425-226-7357 or visit their Web site at www.deltasociety.org.

The Delta Society trains and evaluates Pet Partner teams around the country, and for those unable to attend, it offers a home study guide.

I am certain your bichon will enjoy volunteering as a therapy dog at least as much as the people she meets will relish her company.

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