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Tag: pet therapy

Therapy Dogs and College Students: Helping Students De-Stress Before Exams

Myles and Buddy Visit Western Carolina University Library At Exam Time!

Long Night Against ProcrastinationLast night Myles and his younger brother, Buddy, had so much fun!  The librarians at Western (North) Carolina University invited our CEO, Kristin Walker, to bring her therapy dogs to their event, “Long Night Against Procrastination!”  This idea “began in Germany and is gaining popularity in the US and Canada.  Students … have the opportunity to focus on specific projects in a safe and supportive space improving time management skills, reducing stress and enhancing academic performance.”  The library stayed open until 2 the next morning and even hosted a “survivor’s breakfast” at 1:30 am.

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An Interview with a Therapy Dog Handler

We asked the questions our readers have been emailing.   Myles of Smiles is a non-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote the use of therapy dogs within the mental/behavioral health community.

N: When you and Myles are working with kids, does he seem to bond with any certain types of children, for instance children with a mental health issue or children with behavioral disorders etc.?

K: Great questions. I think all the kids need him just because he is such a positive presence. I always feel like I am delivering flowers. Everyone is happy when the flower delivery person shows up. Myles and I are greeted with smiles, cheers, “thank God you are here”, and lots of hugs.  The other day someone said it was our ministry.  I was surprised by this but I guess it is although no one has put me and the word ministry in the same sentence before.

Yes. These are the kids and adults he bonds with the most. He is very in tune with whatever is going on with their moods. He was well trained with moodiness (he is my dog after all :)) Seriously though, he gravitates towards all kids but if one of them is upset in some way he spends more time with them. He is great with kids that are really shy about reading too.

N: Do the children themselves seem to respond differently toward Myles depending on their health issues? Are there children with specific mental health disorders or behavioral disorders who seem to “need” the therapy with Myles more so than other children? If so, how do they show this to you? Does Myles pick up on this need?

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Myles the Therapy Dog: Another Day In Paradise

Another incredible day! We had a huge group of people mostly on the floor.  Everyone rolled around with Myles.  Everyone got covered in dog slobber and no one cared.  Myles is so cute I can hardly stand it.

First he “notifies” me when it is time to leave for the behavioral health unit at the hospital.  We have been going to this hospital for over 4 years.  It is his FAVORITE place in the universe.  We show up at 3:30pm on Fridays regardless of a holiday.  At about 3pm Myles becomes increasingly anxious and will park himself in front of me.  Being the butler as we call him (because he is so polite) he simply stares at me and waits for me to notice and then looks at the door.  This is my cue to put the laptop down and get his therapy dog vest on him.

He instantly turns into “Myles at work”.  He is very focused.  Typically he stretches out in the car but not on Fridays and not when it is time to work.  He sits straight up and monitors the road on the way to the hospital parking lot.

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Therapy Dogs Working with Special Needs Kids in the Classroom

buddyandmylesMost of our listeners and readers know all about Myles the Therapy Dog. He’s been in parades, traveled all over the United States, and logged miles of visits in outpatient and inpatient mental health organizations. He’s also worked at schools in special needs classrooms. We added his younger brother, Buddy, to the program as Myles got older. Buddy does most of the ball catching and delivering while Myles makes rounds to each patient or student so they can pet him and give him treats.

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