Pet Therapy at Helen Hayes Hospital

I had Ben since he was 8 weeks old and training people will often ask me how do
you train therapy dog. Most people train a dog. The first thing you train
with a dog is you get them to respond to their name and that’s
relatively easy, and you move on from there. Training never stops. And after
basic training Ben has gone through numerous courses with me. I was trained
to train and then I trained Ben and he’s been certified by two different
organizations. We’re working under the auspices of one of them here. What we
accomplish here is rather obvious I can see it in the patients patients faces. I
don’t, I just stand there and listen to them talk. The patients really love it
and the staff really loves it. I’ve never taught him to do tricks.
You know there are people who do and I, coming here and doing tricks
for patients is not the idea. The idea here is for him to communicate with the
patient’s. Verbal and physical communication and once they establish
that communication I have done my job. That’s what I facilitate,
that communication, and it’s obvious to see it and it happens very quickly, and very
easily. Number the patient’s, they’re here and they say you know,” I’m glad you came,
I couldn’t wait, I couldn’t wait to come back.” so they, they’re all
very very positive that’s all positive feedback so it’s
terrific. Ben is the hero. He’s the guy who makes all this happen and makes the
patient’s smile. Based on reaction of the staff and the patients he’s a big hit. Ben
wants to interact, he thrives on it. Someone looks at him, and he senses they
want to interact. I mean you can walk by him and he he won’t, you know
there’s no there’s no connection, but if you makes an eye contact, and if you say
something to him even more, he’s in heaven. You know,
you’ve made contact they’ve said “I want to talk to you.”, and he’ll react and
that’s that’s fun to see here, it’s really fun, and if that’s that’s the
pleasure that you know everybody sees. It the staff sees it, you know
everybody from every member of your staff, the police officers here I mean
everybody reacts to Ben and that’s that’s terrific, so. I’m happy that we can
do that. This is what we have to train in a place like this.
He loves these things. Leave it. Down, down. Leave it. Makes me feel good, simple, that’s my
selfish gratification. I mean I, I enjoy volunteering. This is for me this is a
natural outlet and you see the result of what you’re doing right away. You can
read the faces.Talk about body language with him, you read the body language in the
faces of the clients, you read the patients, that’s easy to read. They tell
you. You can see in their faces and they tell you how much it means to them. so
that’s, that’s that’s for me that’s payment, it’s you know that’s easy very
easy.

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