Callie, a therapy dog brings comfort to disabled veterans and seniors

Callie, with a senior citizen at Blessed Assurance. (Nate Huggins)
Callie, comforting more seniors. (Nate Huggins)

Callie, a therapy dog and owner Jeff Cline, brings Joy to Disable Veterans, Seniors and Special Needs Adults at Blessed Assurance Adult Day Care.  Therapy dogs are dogs who visit with their owners and volunteer in settings such as assisted living facilities, hospitals, nursing homes and schools.

Recently, Mr. Jeff Cline shared with Nate Huggins, COO that he would like to bring his dog (Callie) to visit their facility.  “We quickly embraced the opportunity and now our adults can’t get enough of Jeff and Callie.  We have 18 veterans at Blessed Assurance, one who served in WWII and others who served in various other wars.  We also have adults age 25 to 100, many who owned dogs and grew up with dogs as pets.  Our wheelchair participants were most excited to meet Callie as dogs have been known to bring comfort and healing to both physically and mentally challenged adults,” said Huggins.

A trained therapy dog must have a wonderful temperament and enjoy being around people in general.  This of course includes strangers, children and the elderly.

Callie is a 9.5 year old Golden Doodle (Golden Retriever and poodle).  “Having raised her from a puppy, we knew she was exceptionally sweet, calm and had a great deal of empathy for people.  As she grew older, we wanted to give her a more noble purpose for her life.  Also, bringing smiles and joy to people at places like Blessed Assurance Adult Day Care is very rewarding,” said Cline.

Therapy dogs can bring a ray of hope, a soothing touch, a smile and a few moments of love and affection to our special needs population.  Callie is also certified with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs.

Therapy dogs are not service dogs.  Service dogs are specially trained to perform specific tasks to help an individual who has a physical disability.  A good example is a blind person, and these dogs stay with the person and they have special access privileges in public places such as airplanes and restaurants.  Therapy dogs do not have the same access as service dogs, however, they play and important role in making the world a little better place for individuals who have special needs.