Therapy Dogs Serve Kansas City Community

Kansas City therapy dogs provide comfort and companionship to those in need.

Fowler the Therapy dog.
Fowler visits kids in psychiatric hospitals in the Kansas City Area. His mom Emily says its a joy to see the kids faces light up and Fowler enjoys it as well since he loves getting attention from people.

There’s no arguing that pets provide stress relief for their owners.  Petting your dog reduces blood pressure and slows your respiration.  Even short periods of illness or convalescence increase stress in even otherwise healthy individuals.  Because of this people in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or hospice care frequently deal with chronic stress or depression.  Due to these illnesses or infirmities, these individuals are often away from their families and may have no routine visitors.  As a result, visits from therapy dogs can be the highlight of their day, week, or even month!

Studies have shown that interactions with therapy animals increase sociability and altruistic behaviors in psychiatric patients.  In contrast, patients who did not interact with animals did not share these same results.  For this reason therapy dogs and other animals are angels in disguise!  These intuitive dogs, cats, bunnies, horses, and other animals

Horses, bunnies, even cats have all been registered Therapy animals. Here Marco the therapy cat visits hospital patients with his mom Lynn.

naturally gravitate toward those who need it most.  Alzheimer’s and dementia patients showed reduced aggression and anxiety and increased physical activity after therapy animal visits.  Area volunteers Audrey and her dog Jack used to visit a non-mobile and non-verbal woman.  Jack would sit on her lap and she would grin the entire time.   Even though she couldn’t speak or walk she could move her hands just enough to pet him.

Toby, a therapy dog with Canines for Christ Ministry, helping brighten the day for nursing home residents.

Ways for Therapy Dogs to volunteer in Kansas City

Local organizations like Pets for Life provide certification opportunities for local teams.  Likewise, Mo-Kan Pet Partners and Canines for Christ’s therapy dog programs have helped provide comfort to area kids and adults in hospitals, psychiatric units, libraries, even drug rehab programs, and many more.  Christine Evans, a local dog trainer, and her dog Maverick volunteer for Pets for Life.  Recently Maverick made a special connection with a sad and emotional young lady in a drug rehabilitation program.  Rather than gravitating towards calmer individuals, Maverick sought her out and put his head in her lap!  Because of his visit she calmed down and by the time they left she was laughing.  Consequently, volunteers also revel in the joy their pets are able to provide and provide a unique service in giving comfort.

Training Class for Therapy Dogs at the Canine Solutions DogSchool

Do you have a dog you think would be good at comforting others?  The best therapy dogs are often 3-5 years or older, in good health, and have a naturally calm and intuitive disposition.  The people they visit are often medically fragile.  Therefore good training and obedience is a must!  Consequently, even if your dog or puppy is a little excitable now it’s never too early to start laying the foundation.  It’s important for puppies to have early positive exposure to novel sights, sounds, smells, and people of all ages, sizes, and abilities.   Furthermore, introduce them to wheelchairs, walkers, and other equipment they may see in the a hospital or nursing home.

Pet Therapy Class begins Wednesday March 20th and runs for 6 weeks. Class fee is $200

If you have a puppy and a goal of performing therapy work in the future get started today!  The Canine Solutions DogSchool offers 4 levels of obedience beginning with Puppy Socials for youngsters 8-20 weeks old.  For dogs over 5 months Canine Life and Social Skills is available in three different levels: Bachelors, Masters, and PhD.   Finally, if your dog is mature and you want to prepare yourself for certification consider our 6 week intensive Pet Therapy Class which begins Wednesday, March 20th, 2019.  This class is taught by guest trainer Christine Evans of We Love Pets Training and is $200 for the full course.  Future offerings may be available depending on demand.  Email for more info.