Chelsea began her “job” as a Pet Therapy Dog at Bethesda Senior’s Home in Steinbach, Manitoba in October 2009. After only 6 months of getting to know Chelsea…when she rescued our family, she displayed ideal characteristics of a “therapy dog”. She is gentle, patient, polite, and very intuitive. I introduced her to Pam, the activities director at the senior’s home and Pam was so impressed with Chelsea’s gentle disposition and good manners she was hired! And so our journey began…weekly visits to cheer and heal the elderly. Once a week I drive Chelsea to her “job”. As she enters the building, her tail begins to wag. We spend an hour peeking into Senior’s rooms waiting for an invite from the “regulars” who need healing therapy from Chelsea. Sometimes it’s just a pat on the head or even a gentle hug. I am always amazed how alzheimer’s patients suddenly recall the name of their family pet of 30 years ago, or the very sick reach out a crippled hand to rub her ear. Sometimes Chelsea’s job is as simple as just sitting quietly next to a patients bed for a few minutes. At only 5 years old, Chelsea has many years ahead to bring “paw-sitive” pet therapy healing to many local seniors.
Chelsea lives in Ste. Genevieve, Manitoba on a 10 acre property with her 3 year old wire fox terrier brother, Cosmo and 12 year old airedale sister, Mookie, also “rescues”.
Her hobbies include long walks with her “people”, playing with Cosmo and occasionally barking at the 2 resident cats.
[Chelsea’s owner is Michele Krowchuk.]
One thought on “Rescue Now Works as Pet Therapy Dog”
I, too, understand the wonderful ability of Airedales to serve as Therapy Dogs.
In 1999, a friend of mine with a Beagle asked if I’d like to take my very friendly Airedale, Jay, to visit a seniors’ home in Thunder Bay as part of a program, then called, Pat-A-Pet. It was not a dog-exclusive program as cats, rabbits and pot-bellied pigs were part of the entourage, which gentle Jay enjoyed being in the company of very much.
Any seniors wishing to spend time with the animals would congregate in a central open room, either under their own direction or with the help of an attendant. While I stood and listened to someone speak, my Airedale sat next to a gentleman in a wheel chair who was attended to by his two adult daughters. The elderly gentleman reached down, gently touched Jay on the head and quietly said, “that’s and Airedale, isn’t it?’ Before I could turn to respond, one of the daughters cried out saying “Oh, my God!” I quickly turned to see her standing with tears in her eyes and asked if everything was okay. She said “Those are the first words Dad has spoken in 8 months! He had a stroke and we thought he would never speak again”. People around us were astounded that Jay had had such an impact on him. We learned that this gentleman had owned Airedales for many years and the joy of seeing one again literally brought him out of his cocoon.
Needless to say, we were hooked. Jay was tested and enrolled in the next St.John Ampulance Therapy Dog program, passing it with flying colours. We went on as a team for many years, visiting local seniors’ homes.
Now I have Lizzie. She is a rescue Airedale who was abused and neglected. She is still young and has just passed her first obedience class. I brought her in early July, to visit my Dad in a seniors’ home in Fort Frances. She was the highlight of the day for many seniors, responding in such a positive and happy way, I am convinced she will also be a wonderful Therapy Dog. After her next set of obedience classes, we will visit St.John Ambulance to have her tested and evaluated. I’m sure she, too, will make a wonderful Therapy Dog as she shows all the signs. Her smiling Airedale face and happy demeanor will be sure to bring joy to many.