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GRACIE, THE THERAPY DOG

At Harmony we have a resident therapy dog: “Gracie”.  “Gracie” is a Golden Doodle  – part Standard Poodle and part Golden Retriever-and works as a co-therapist with Kristy Schadt.

Gracie provides a significant emotional service to our clients as they heal and grow on their own personal journeys. She gives our clients the message “ I love you just the way you are – no strings attached”. Clients can then feel lovable and worthy of love – sometimes for the first time in their lives. She will bring a smile to your face. She is in training and is learning through positive methods the good manners required to be a Therapy Dog!

Pets often can read our emotions and provide us with what we want and need without any words needing to be expressed. Several times in history our dogs have jumped into a clients lap to provide comfort and reassurance at the very moment they most needed it.

Pet assisted therapy has been proven to be beneficial for both clients who receive the love of an animal, and the animal itself. Pets provide comfort, stress relief, an opportunity to be connected to the present by our senses, and unconditional acceptance. Animal Assisted  Therapy (ATT) is defined by Rise Van Fleet (a leading expert in the field of Play therapy and Animal Assisted Play Therapy) as “the integrated use of animals in the context of play therapy, in which appropriately-trained therapists and animals engage with children and families primarily in play interventions aimed at improving the child’s psychosocial health and the animal’s well-being.

Research on the Human-animal bond has provided us with many benefits of using animals in the therapy room.  You can read more about this exciting field at Rise Van Fleet’s website “Playful Pooch”:   http://play-therapy.com/playfulpooch/about.html

If you are interested in learning more about pet assisted therapy you can contact these websites:

www.loveonaleash.org
www.dogplay.com
www.petpartners.org
www.tdi-dog.org/

 

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