Troupe Members of the Month - Julie Bereckis, Boston and Deke
Julie has been a dedicated member of the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe since 2007. Her current Pet Partners are 10-year-old Boston, a mixed breed and 1 year old Deke, a Shorthaired Miniature Dachshund. They are dedicated volunteers at local elementary schools and libraries in the Pet Partners “Read With Me” programs. Julie and her partners also visit at Loyola University Medical Center on the Pediatric and Neurology units and the Rehabilitation unit at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. They work with developmentally challenged adults at the Little Friends Spectrum Vocational Services program. Julie’s busy visiting schedule finally includes Fisher House for families of hospitalized veterans at Hines VA Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House at Loyola. Here is what Julie has to say about her PAWSItive Therapy Troupe experiences:
“Boston and I have been visiting ever since she was just one year of age. We enjoy all of the facilities that we visit. Boston loves to meet everyone. She is so excited where ever we go. I really see her shine with the special needs children. She is so patient with them, and tolerant of everything that happens. Boston special gifts are her intuition and her patience. That's why we did additional training to become a crisis team through Hope AACR. She gravitates towards those in need. It is so unique to see how she senses who needs her most. She has definitely taught me how to be a better person.
Deke is new to the therapy world, but he also passed his Pet Partners test at just one year of age in late 2016. He is learning what the vest coming out of the closet means and cries if it's not his turn. Deke is still learning his “job”, but I love the excitement he brings to each visit. He brings a smile to everyone’s face, whether they want to cuddle with him or not!”
On behalf of all of us in the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe, thank you Julie for so many years of devoted service!
The PAWSitive Therapy Troupe is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to sharing registered therapy dogs with individuals in a wide variety of health care and educational settings--bringing comfort, support and encouragement through the unique healing power of the human-animal bond.
What is the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe?
The PAWSitive Therapy Troupe is an Animal-Assisted Activities and Therapy program designed to share registered therapy dogs with patients and students in a variety of health care and educational settings.
Is there a Difference Between a Therapy Dog and a Service Dog?
Yes! Therapy dogs are NOT “service”, or “assistance” dogs. Service dogs include guide dogs for the blind; hearing dogs that alert their owners to sounds; mobility assistance dogs, which may pull a wheelchair or directly support a person; seizure alert dogs; and others like them. Service dogs are covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act. People with disabilities can BY LAW, take their service dogs with them wherever they go, including planes, restaurants, sporting events, etc.
Many people are under the mistaken impression that therapy dogs and their handlers have the same rights of access as people with disabilities and their service animals. Therapy dogs are NOT service dogs. They are NOT allowed to accompany their handlers wherever they go. Therapy dogs are invited into hospitals, nursing homes or schools to work with patients or students on very specific tasks, or simply to bring their unconditional love to the many people who need them in these facilities. Therapy dogs and their handlers have no more rights of access than anyone with a companion animal or pet.
Therapy dogs are always first and foremost beloved family pets. You cannot “buy” a ready made therapy dog. Therapy dogs and their owners, because of their interest in therapy work have undergone additional rigorous training to prepare them to function reliably in health care or educational settings. Therapy dogs live at home with their families when they are not working.
What are Animal-Assisted Activities / Therapy?
Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) share registered therapy dogs with patients or students in a variety of activities such as individual bedside visits, entertaining demonstrations or educational sessions. Animal- Assisted Activities are not necessarily goal-directed, but they are nonetheless certainly therapeutic in nature.
Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) is goal-directed intervention in which a therapy dog is an integral part of the clinical treatment process. It is directed by a licensed health care or education professional with specialized expertise and within the scope of his or her profession. AAT is designed to promote improvement in physical, social, emotional and / or cognitive functioning / reading skills. This process is documented in the health care record by the health care professional or in the education plan by the education professional.