Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Rescue Dog Rodney Comforts Many As A Pet Therapy Dog

Meet Rodney--Rodney is a pet therapy dog who provides joy and comfort to many.  He is a gentle, cuddly Old English Sheepdog who is approx. 8 to 9 years old.  Rodney's journey from a rescue dog to a pet therapy dog is an amazing tale.  Rodney was found wandering the streets of Taiwan (from a puppy mill), saved by rescuers and then shipped to California to find his forever home and purpose. He now dedicates his life to helping others as a therapy dog.

What is a therapy dog? A therapy dog is one that is trained to provide affection, comfort and emotional support to adults and children in a variety of settings which include: hospitals, nursing homes, schools, hospices, and disaster areas. They are not to be confused with service animals that are trained to perform a specific task for a person with a disability. You may see a therapy dog sitting with a child learning to read, brightening the day of the elderly, visiting patients at hospitals or offering comfort to those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a disaster or horrific experience.

Rodney underwent special training at the Betty White Foundation Actors and Friends of Animals and has been on staff at West Hills Hospital as a pet therapy dog for many years. Rodney enters the front doors of the hospital and hears his name called by doctors, nurses, and staff members. Rodney, a celebrity in his own right, travels throughout the hospital providing love and joy to all.

Here is just one example which illustrates the comfort a pet therapy dog can provide.  For several weeks, Rodney had visited the same room of a young man who had suffered a massive heart attack.  The young man had breathing and feeding tubes keeping him alive while his anguished grandmother sat with him, holding his hand.  Each week Rodney would come for a visit sitting with them hoping in some way that his presence might relieve some of their pain.  
When the final day came and the young man passed away peacefully, Rodney was there with his head in the grandmother’s lap as she gently stroked his head.  Having Rodney there made a very sad and difficult situation just a little bit easier.  Pet therapy dogs can make an amazing difference in the lives of those who are suffering.