Thursday, April 25, 2013

Shelter dogs making nursing home visits

I was surprised and pleased to see a positive dog-related article in my local rag yesterday: Pooches pay visits to area nursing home. This was not "just" a story about therapy dogs; this was a story about a shelter called by a local nursing home to see if they had any dogs that could come and visit! The shelter director, Kerrie Colin, performed her own tests to see how dogs would be around walkers, wheelchairs, etc. and brought two miniature schnauzers over, with great success.

(picture from Wikimedia Commons, not one of the Miniature Schnauzers in question)

Evidently, the original dogs are soon to be adopted (May 3 is when they go home!), but Colin has two slightly older beagles in mind for her next therapy dog pair.

I think this is a fabulous opportunity for the shelter and the dogs there. Successful therapy dogs, certified or not, must appear more appealing to adoptive homes. These are dogs with stable temperaments, who are able to be calm and comforting in a strange (to them) environment. This also gets the dogs out of the shelter environment and interacting with people, so they don't end up with kennel syndrome.

This might also inspire people to train and certify with organizations like Pet Partners (which until right this second I thought was still called the Delta Society) and Therapy Dogs International. Some people might not otherwise have thought about therapy dogs and nursing home visits, and might discover a rewarding hobby (should that be called a hobby?) for both themselves and their dogs. Bunny at Tales and Tails makes nursing home visits (maybe Kuster will calm enough to do so as well one day, sidelining from his SAR duties?), and I've always enjoyed reading about that. Maybe one day I'll do something like that with Elka. Or one of those "kids read to dogs" programs (like Reading with Rover).


  1. That's awesome! What a great idea. :)

  2. This is such a great and rewarding program. Bet it puts a smile on a lot of faces
    Benny & Lily

  3. Thanks for sharing a great story!

  4. I love that. What a great way to showcase adoptable dogs. Someone in the nursing home just might know someone who's looking. I love when shelters think outside the box!

  5. Wow! The home contacted the shelter! This is great. :)

  6. Wow, what a forward-thinking nursing home. And it's great the shelter was willing to come on board. So many people wouldn't be so innovative citing insurance problems.

    I hope it encourages more such partnerships.

  7. Absolutely love this; I have several dogs who could visit now. Thanks for sharing this very good news. YESH for the adoptions!

  8. Hi Guys,

    That sure is great to read about! When I go on my therapy visits to nursing homes some of my dog buddies who come too were originally from shelters. I think it's wonderful to have them visit whilst they're still in the shelter, after they've been assessed.

    In a carefully managed environment this is a win-win for everyone! :)

    Wags to all,

    Your pal Snoopy :)