I think that, across the board, the cardis are so perfectly suited for therapy service. They have happy faces, they are sweet-tempered, they like children and old people, they’re intuitive. The biggest drawback is that in hospital work they cannot reach the high beds. Fortunately, I am still able to pick up my dogs to greet a bed-ridden patient. Inca likes Alzheimer Units because by the time she gets back around, the people she met at the beginning don’t remember and she gets greeted all over again. That’s a big boost for the little red girl. Both Kip and Inca are therapy dogs registered with Therapy Dogs., Inc. and are members of our local Southwest Canine Corps of Volunteers.
Kip favors the mental health wards. When we go into the day rooms, patients come in to meet him. Somehow everyone ends up on the floor laughing while Kip wriggles in pure delight.
Kip also READs (Intermountain Therapy, Inc. Reading Education Assistance Dog). He has his own second grade class at a private school. There are five children in that class reading below grade level. It’s amazing how the program works. Children who read below grade don’t want to read to adults or to their peers because they are embarrassed, but they’ll sure read to a dog. My granddaughter (shown in this photo to protect the privacy of our real READ kids) started reading to Kip when he was eight weeks old and she was four. She was probably making up the words, but the dog didn’t care. So for Kip, curling up with a child while he/she reads is a normal thing to do.
He’s a hero at the school. When we enter the grounds, he is mobbed — patted and rubbed and hugged — all the time smiling that cardi smile and wagging his tail. The kids call me “Mrs. Kip”, and I really don’t mind not having my own name. When my first grade granddaughter transferred to the school mid-year, Kip and I took her to class on her second day. One of the teachers asked her if she was related to Kip. She disclosed that he is her brother. That little tidbit of information moved her from “new kid in school” to “Ms. Popularity”. Much laughter among the adults because we now know what power the little dog has.
Therapy visits and our READ program take time out of the day, but replace it with blessings.