Khan was terrified of people, dogs and especially children. But with a lot of patience, love and hard work, he passed a CGC (Canine Good Citizen) test on his second attempt. (He failed his first attempt because he wanted to greet all the strangers in the crowd test.) Then a friend said he might make a good therapy dog—he was sensitive to seniors, and had a slow but deliberate approach to greeting strangers.
We did training to get him used to hospital and senior-home equipment, and I am proud to say that he truly is a wonderful therapy dog, specializing in working with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Khan has gone way beyond what I ever expected from him.
Chloe, our other therapy dog, is a large Akita mix and works with children, particularly children with Down syndrome and autism. I have never seen a dog with more patience and tolerance.
As you say, it’s definitely not for every dog, and not every dog is suited for every type of visit. I tried Khan at an adult psychiatric hospital. He was very well behaved, but I could tell the visit was much more stress than our senior visits, which he does enjoy.
In response to McConnell’s “Lending a Helping Paw”.