On July 1, 2014, the AKC announced new levels of the AKC Therapy Dog title.
Because dogs such as “Deputy Barney Fife,” a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel owned by Lynda Dudek, had long since passed the initial title’s 50 visit requirement, many owners requested more advanced AKC titles. Four-year old Barney was the first dog to earn the new AKC Therapy Dog Advanced (THDA) title.
Registered with Therapy Dogs Incorporated (TD Inc.), Barney works in Special Education programs in two school districts. Children read to Barney and they also practice their language and social skills, sharing stories and talking to a non-judgemental therapy dog who is everyone’s friend.
Barney also visits two senior living facilities. “We stay busy,” said Lynda, “and Barney loves every second of it.” Once a week, on Wednesday evenings, Lynda and Barney make their rounds and do individual room visits at Monroe House in Mountain Home, Arkansas. The men and women look forward to Barney’s visits, often waiting for him to arrive.
Twice a month, Barney and Lynda also go to the River Lodge Assisted Living facility. They visit in a common area and the number of residents varies. On some nights, Barney sees five people, on others, there may be twenty-five people. Lynda plans and puts on shows with Barney. “That’s where having a well-trained dog really makes a difference in the therapy setting,” Lynda said. Barney can do a lot of tricks and the residents love to see him perform–and he loves putting on a show.”
Many seniors will talk to Lynda and Barney about pets they had before coming to the facility. They share their memories, and then, thanks to Barney, they have something to look forward to next week.
For more information on Therapy Dogs Inc. (TD Inc.) see: https://www.therapydogs.com/Public/Home.aspx
For more information on AKC Therapy dog titles, see: http://www.akc.org/akctherapydog