The mass shooting that happened in Uvalde, TX has horrified a lot of people. As a result, various kinds of support have been pouring in. For instance, multiple organizations have sent in therapy dogs for the purpose of comforting the survivors as well as others in the community. Some of these therapy dogs come from the state of Texas itself, as shown by Canines 4 Christ as well as Therapy Animals of San Antonio. Others come from other places in the United States. To name an example, Crisis Response Canines’ therapy dogs come from Ohio, Florida, and New Jersey. Meanwhile, Lutheran Church Charities’ therapy dogs come from not just Texas but also Colorado and Oklahoma. Some of these organizations have become experienced with dealing with the aftermath of such events.
How Do Therapy Dogs Help Out?
Therapy animals are seeing more and more use. They can include a wide range of animals. Chances are good that interested individuals can guess that therapy animals include cats, dogs, and horses. However, there are more unusual therapy animals as well, with a couple of excellent examples being llamas and alpacas. In any case, therapy animals are seeing more and more use because of the belief that they can help out a wide range of people with a wide range of health issues. Short-term, that can mean helping people through the processing of traumatic events. Long-term, that can mean helping people handle an even wide range of problems. There is still much that remains to be studied about the effects of therapy animals. Still, the research that has been conducted suggests that there is indeed something to the practice.
Something that is perhaps unsurprising to those who have interacted with therapy dogs as well as other therapy animals. Of course, not just any dog can serve as a therapy dog. After all, there are a lot of demands placed upon therapy dogs, meaning that they must be capable of performing the tasks entrusted to them under the conditions expected of them. There are a lot of dogs that enjoy human contact. However, there are also a lot of dogs that don’t enjoy human contact for one reason or another. Imagine one of the latter working as a therapy dog when being petted is so expected of them. Similarly, the people who handle therapy dogs have a lot of training as well. For example, those who have been sent to Uvalde, TX have the training needed for psychological first aid. Similarly, those who have been sent to Uvalde, TX have the training needed for critical incident stress management. Both of which are necessary for them to do their jobs.
What Dogs Make For the Best Therapy Dogs?
Some dog breeds see a lot more use as therapy dogs than others. However, the question of what dogs make for the best therapy dogs can have a rather complicated answer, particularly since different therapy dogs work under different conditions. Still, some dog breeds see a lot more use for very good reasons:
Greyhounds have a well-earned reputation for speed. However, it is important to note that they aren’t as endlessly restless as what one might expect based on that single characteristic. Instead, Greyhounds can be quite calm, good-natured, and good-tempered, all of which are traits that make them very well-suited for serving as therapy dogs.
Unsurprisingly, Golden Retrievers are one of the dog breeds that see the most use as therapy dogs. After all, they are supposed to be very affectionate, very biddable creatures that get along well with both adults and children. Furthermore, pop culture has done a great deal to cement the Golden Retriever as the iconic family dog, thus making these dogs seem that much more approachable to a wide range of people from a wide range of backgrounds. On top of these things, Golden Retrievers also have soft coats, which is a huge bonus when it comes to petting time. Combined, it is no wonder that they see so much use as therapy dogs.
Speaking of which, Labrador Retrievers also see a lot of use as therapy dogs for much the same reasons as Golden Retrievers. Essentially, they are very friendly, very easy to train, and very amicable even when it comes to strangers. Labrador Retrievers even share the sense of playfulness. Something that makes them very useful when cheering someone up proves to be necessary. The same characteristics that make Labrador Retrievers a wonderful choice of companion makes them a wonderful choice for therapy dog as well.
Poodles see use in a wide range of roles in a wide range of settings. This is possible because they are some of the smartest dogs that can be found out there. Moreover, Poodles are easy to train, thus making them capable of being trained for roles that other dogs wouldn’t be able to handle. Sometimes, that means a role performing challenging tricks before huge audiences. Other times, that means offering comfort to those who need it. Of course, Poodles also have a fluffy coat, which as mentioned earlier, is very much a bonus for the role of therapy dog.
Different therapy dogs work under different circumstances. As a result, smaller dog breeds often see use in scenarios for which bigger dog breeds would not be appropriate. French Bulldogs are an excellent example. Some people might find this surprising because of their predecessor’s reputation of having been bred for bloodsports. However, French Bulldogs are very far removed from those origins. In fact, they came into existence because of people breeding toy bulldogs together in France, meaning that they were meant as companion animals from pretty much the start of their existence. Nowadays, French Bulldogs remain well-suited for that role, which in turn, means that they can make for very capable therapy dogs with the right training.
Pugs are another excellent example. They are people-pleasers who happen to be very good at reading people, which is a very powerful combination. On top of that, Pugs are famous for having a sense of humor, thus enabling them to light up people’s day.