The use of therapy dogs has expanded to include animals to help individual who suffer from a variety of conditions. These animals can be relied upon to provide quiet companionship and emotional support, and often, a bit of entertainment in the process. Therapy animals can be used in nursing homes, hospitals, and in communities that have experienced natural disasters or other traumatic events.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Spaniels are among the gentlest and most sociable of breeds, and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel fills this bill in its own special way. This breed is happiest when it is interacting with humans. Even-tempered dogs love to be with people, and they are happy to be sitting on someone’s lap, giving comfort to anyone who needs it. These dogs have a long, luxurious coat that is great for petting. At 13 to 18 pounds, the King Charles is large enough to feel comfortable around children but still small enough to fit on a lap or lie in bed with a recovering patient.
The Pug breed is another dog that is often used for therapy purposes. This breed is friendly, outgoing and can adapt itself to any situation. The Pug is about 14 to 18 pounds with a wrinkled, short-nosed face, smooth coat and a curly tail. Pugs are able to read peoples’ moods, and they can provide quiet companionship or mischievous antics as needed. Pugs thrive on affection, which makes them the perfect dog for spending time with someone who needs a quiet, loving companion.
The Bichon Frise is a white, fluffy-coated dog with a playful, upbeat attitude and outgoing disposition. Bichons are known for their cottonball coats and affectionate natures. At only 10 to 18 pounds, they can be good for cuddling and are sensitive enough to respond appropriately to individuals’ moods. But they can also be lively and mischievous, which brings entertainment and fun to every situation.
Another even-tempered breed that makes a great therapy dog is the French Bulldog. These animals weigh between 16 to 25 pounds, with a smooth coat, muscular build and upright ears. They have a calm nature, but are also known for their sense of fun. They are not above clowning around to get a smile from their owners and whoever else is around. A loving, gentle and companionable animal, they are a good breed for helping those who are overcoming trauma.
The most important qualities for therapy dogs are gentleness, obedience, focus and steady temperament. If you’re interested in psychology, counseling, and therapy you may consider learning more by pursuing a school counseling graduate program. These breeds provide the qualities needed and more, which is why they are so frequently used in therapy work.