A visit by a therapy dog can brighten up the day for a sick child's in a hospital or a bring a smile to an elderly person at an assisted living facility. But there is a shortage of dogs and owners needed for this service.
So the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and Delta Society are now offering classes to help train dogs and owners how to bring "hope and cheer" to patients who need it.
Licensed Delta Society professionals are offering classes starting April 24. All kinds of dogs from Golden Retrievers to Poodles can be evaluated and considered to serve as a therapy dog. At the end of classes, dogs and owners are evaluated and need to be certified by Delta Society instructors. Safe and enjoyable visits by trained animals and their owners are the goal.
In addition to visiting patients in hospitals, therapy dogs are needed for trips to area schools, nursing homes, mental health facilities among others locations.
Classes are offered Saturdays at 9 am or 10:15 am and last seven sessions. For more information on how to sign up, you can visit www.ASPCA.org and look for the "Animal Assisted Therapy" link.