Thanks to a grant from the Norma Roman Longfellow Fund, Hospice of Douglas County will add another facet of "compassionate care" to its program - therapy dogs.
Registered therapy dogs can provide comfort, support and animal companionship to hospice patients and their families.
It has been proven that the sight of a dog and the touch of their fur can often bring peace and joy to those patients whose life once included animals.
The physical contact has a calming effect and dogs have the ability to bring diversion from physical discomfort, decrease anxiety and provide expanded opportunities for laughter and joy.
Hospice of Douglas County is currently seeking volunteers to be part of this program. The handler and dog will be accepted as a team.
The handler must successfully complete the standard hospice volunteer training program, and handler and dog must meet all requirements of Therapy Dogs, Incorporated. They will be awarded an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen certificate after successful completion of the training.
Dogs must also meet specific health and temperament requirements.
Not all handlers or dogs are suitable for this aspect of therapy work. The handler must be a caring person who can provide emotional support and comfort to hospice patients and their families.
Certain "at-risk" dogs will also not be accepted into the program, including Akita, American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire, bull Terrier, Rottweiler, chow chow, Dobberman pinscher, wolf hybrids, etc.
Interviews for handlers and dogs will be held the last week in October. Training will take place November 12-14.
For more information or to receive an application, contact Lynn Johnson, volunteer coordinator, Hospice of Douglas County, at (320) 762-3045.