Paws and Reflect Program is â€œPutting On the Dogâ€
As part of the Planetree components at <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />AllianceCommunityHospital, pet therapy is proving to be one of the most popular. The Paws and Reflect volunteer program hosts approximately 12 dogs and their handlers, all members of the Therapy Dogs International, Inc.
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On Sunday, November 8th, a special program is planned to not only spotlight the hospital's pet therapy program, but to also help educate youth on pet safety and care.
The â€œPutting on the Dogâ€ program is open to all youth in the area, but parent(s)/guardian(s) are required to accompany their child (ren). This no-charge program will be held at the RobertsonCenter at1005 East State Street in Alliance beginning at 1 p.m. and ending at 3 p.m. Reservations are requested in order to plan for all attendees, and they can be made by calling the volunteer department at ACH, 330-596-7822 or 330-596-7821 before Thursday, November 5th. A maximum of 50 participants will be accepted for the program.
â€œWe have a wonderful pet therapy program at ACH, and we want to share with others the difference this program makes for our patients, visitors and staff. All of our visiting dogs have passed the TDI requirements, and then are mentored by our TDI certified mentors a minimum of four times before they can make visits independently,â€ explains Marcy Todd, volunteer coordinator at ACH.
â€œIf we can save even one child from being injured by a dog, our mission is accomplishedâ€, shared Mary Mears, a member of the Paws and Reflect program. â€œWe love dogs, but we have learned there is a right and wrong way to approach a dog. Our program helps teach children, and adults, the proper techniques to use.â€
A full two hours of education and fun have been planned for the day. Some of the topics include: pet safety (how to approach a strange dog and what to do when a strange dog approaches you), what makes a good therapy dog, special readings and why is pet therapy so important to the hospital.
Participants will also rotate through a variety of activity centers including: Dog Grooming, Health, Nutrition and Exercise for Dogs, What is a Rescue Animal? and Reading to the Dogs. Participants will also make a special take-home craft during the rotations.
Each child will receive a bag of practical and fun items to commemorate their participation in the program. They will also have time to interact with the many dogs who participate in the Paws and Reflect program. A special event will be the â€œDog on a Hogâ€ presentation by Bear, the Chihuahua, and owner Ruth DeFranco.
Cameras are welcome as there are sure to be some heartwarming pictures of the participants and the dogs!
â€œWe are adding yet another dimension to this program. Any participant who would like to partner with one of the handlers and their dog to come in randomly to read to the residents of our CommunityCareCenter nursing home are welcome to do so. We feel by bringing the program back to ACH, the children will experience the value of volunteering, as well as witness what a positive difference pet therapy makes to our patients, families and staff,â€ explains Marcy Todd, volunteer coordinator.
Further information can be obtained by contacting the ACH Volunteer Department at 330-596-7821 OR 330-596-7822.