Kentuckiana Shetland Sheepdog Club

Pet therapy is all about hands – well hands and heart.  Shelties make wonderful pet therapy dogs once they get beyond their initial innate shyness. The Sheltie’s gentle nature and enormous capacity for love and affection make them a natural when visiting in most pet therapy settings.

What is Pet Therapy?  At the most basic level, it is animal assisted visits with people in need of comfort. Visits are done as a team with the pet and owner both being an integral part of a successful visit.  A few of the places you’ll find teams visiting are:  schools, hospitals, nursing homes, correctional institutions, rehabilitation centers, community centers, offices, and in hospice settings. Most facilities require that teams be certified through a formal application and evaluation process (although sometimes Sheltie owners make a visit just as a friend if the facility allows). Pet Therapy requires a dog that knows basic obedience skills and is confident in unusual or unfamiliar situations. Those are skills can be taught and learned.  More importantly, pet therapy requires a dog who makes connections, is gentle, enjoys being patted, touched, and yes – loved.  Those traits are part of personality and temperament; every dog will not make a good therapy dog.

KSSC member Barbara Knupp tells this story about a memorable visit:

One day on a nursing home visit with my shelties Polly and Skye, we encountered an elderly woman in a wheel chair crying as she sat alone in a hallway. Polly and Skye promptly surrounded her with heads in her lap and paws on her chair.  I told her she now had two step dogs. She smiled. I’ve never been so proud of my dogs as at that moment.

If you want to learn more about pet therapy organizations in the Kentuckiana area, check out these two groups where KSSC members are currently affiliated:

W.A.G.S. Pet Therapy of Kentucky

Pet Therapy, Inc.
President: Emma Wallace
Contact Phone: (502) 592-1676

Therapy Dogs International

Next Membership Meeting

Location:  TBA
Time:   TBA
Contact: for details

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