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What is a Therapy Dog?

  • A therapy dog is a specially trained companion that collaborates with its handler to provide targeted support.

  • These dogs undergo comprehensive training and successfully pass personality and obedience assessments.

  • Distinguished from service or assistance dogs, which cater to specific individuals (such as guide dogs), a therapy dog is trained to deliver social and emotional comfort to diverse individuals as part of a collaborative team with its handler.

  • Research underscores the positive impact of therapy dogs in therapeutic sessions, manifesting in increased confidence, reduced anxiety, heightened motivation, and enriched interpersonal relationships.


What is the Human/Animal Bond?

  • There is a remarkable phenomenon known as the Human-Animal bond, where animals, especially our canine companions, forge strong connections with humans.

  • Consider the appeal of attending therapy sessions to be greeted by a friendly face, a warm smile, and unconditional acceptance.

  • Animals, especially canines, offer this through their genuine affection, honesty, and non-judgmental nature.


What are the advantages of a Therapy Dog visit?

Positive interactions between people and animals can yield a multitude of benefits, including:​

  • Our therapy dog Beau extends a paw for sharing, lends a floppy ear for listening, and engages with individuals in ways that promote joy, alleviate worries, and foster an atmosphere that is both enjoyable and enriching.

  • Supporting the development of relationships and emotional bonds built on trust and respect.

  • Improved mood, morale, and sense of self-worth.

  • Working in tandem with the therapy dog, the therapist provides a distinctive form of emotional support, aiding in stress management, promoting mental well-being.

  • Better social interaction, reducing feelings of social isolation.

  • Stress relief and emotional support through canine companionship.

  • Reduction in cortisol levels, promoting a calm and focused mind.

  • Release of endorphins (feel-good hormones), fostering happiness and relaxation

  • Increased engagement, motivation, and overall happiness in the therapeutic setting 


What qualifications does the handler have?

  • Credentialed mental health nurse/animal assisted therapist

  • Post graduate training in various mental health treatment modalities.

  • Over 27 years experience in mental health practice with an ability to provide containment and support to clients who may be distressed.

  • In-depth knowledge of community supports which may be of benefit to those engaged with our service.

How long do appointments last?

  • Appointments are generally scheduled for one hour although shorter sessions can be accommodated.

Can you provide a consent form prior to attending?

  • Yes, our service has a comprehensive consent form which details rules related to the animal assisted appointment. You will also be provided with a registration form for completion and return prior to your first session. 


Is the therapy dog registered and microchipped?

  • Yes, Beau is registered and microchipped with Moreton Bay Council.


Is the therapy dog up to date with their vaccinations?

  • Yes, Beau is up to date with vaccinations (including canine parvo virus). He undergoes regular health monitoring and if any signs of illness arise on the scheduled appointment day, we will collaborate with you to explore potential solutions.


Is the therapy dog assessed for temperament and obedience?

  • Yes, Beau has been fully assessed for temperament and obedience and is reassessed on a yearly basis.  


Do you have indemnity insurance?

  • Yes, Beau has full indemnity insurance.


How will the therapy dog be prepared for visits?

  • Beau is regularly brushed to remove loose hair and his nails are trimmed. He is flea and tick treated, wears a collar and lead (on arrival) and will use the toilet prior to your visit.


Can we pat the therapy dog?

  • You are welcome to pet Beau and engage with him as much as you would like, in fact, we encourage this. Unlike assistance dogs such as seeing eye dogs or medical alert dogs, who must maintain focus on their designated person and tasks, therapy dogs do not provide life-saving services for a specific handler. 

Can we take photos of the therapy dog?

  • Beau loves having his photo taken and will be very offended if you do not take a photo with them 😊.

  • Although Beau is happy with family photos, he prefers not to be crowded.


Can we feed the therapy dogs?

  • No, Beau is maintained on a specialist diet to keep him in optimal condition. Although he would love extra treats, these have the potential to make him feel unwell.


Will you leave the therapy dog alone with us at any time?

  • Although Beau is well trained, he is part of a cohesive team and will therefore always be with his handler.


Will the therapy dogs run around the office?

  • No, Beau is a very relaxed dog who will be extremely happy to sit with you.


Will the therapy dog bark?

  • Again, although Beau is well trained, he is a dog and may bark. This is usually an isolated bark, perhaps due to being startled or seeing something strange/different.


Could we be bitten or scratched?

  • Although it is unlikely you would be bitten or scratched, we are unable to guarantee that an accident will not occur. We would however like to reassure you that Beau is well handled and non-aggressive.

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