On December 11, two therapy dogs, Seamus and Othello, along with their owners (Laura Pavlech and Aly Curtis) visited with delighted staff and students in the HSL collaboration center.
Two Paws Up!
HSL patrons commented that it was “a great idea! Please do it again!” and mentioned the “very nice display about the dogs as helpers.” The exhibit is at the HSL entrance on the first floor. Therapy dog photographs are exhibited on the second floor.
The exhibit and event were the brainstorm of HSL staff member Lynn Gunter. Lynn thought that such an event would be fun and also help bring about greater awareness of the important contributions of dogs and animals to our lives.
Lynn stresses that working with therapy dogs is a win-win for both people and the animals. The dogs bring calmness and joy to people, and provide the unconditional love that is so important to a person who is going through a difficult illness or emotional trauma.
Lynn has worked with therapy dogs in nursing homes and other settings. Many of the people helped by therapy dogs have few opportunities for interactions with others. “It is so heartwarming to see the brightness in the eyes of people” served by the dogs, she said.
Therapy Dogs go through a training program in preparation for serving. After completing obedience training, candidate dogs undergo Canine Good Citizens training, followed by a Therapy Dog certification test.
Lynn Gunter has served on the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of Alamance County and worked for the No Kill Coalition of Alamance County. She continues to work as an advocate for animals in various ways, including serving as a foster parent and working with stray animals.
If you would like to see HSL do more to highlight the therapeutic contributions of animals, give us a bark!
You can see more pictures of Othello and Seamus on the HSL Flickr site.