Reap the benefits of therapy dogs virtually

Reap the benefits of therapy dogs virtually
Posted at 5:19 PM, Apr 07, 2020

Therapy dogs can provide great comfort and support, but in person visits aren't happening in many places right now because of coronavirus. So, organizations are adapting, helping you get benefits virtually.

DoveLewis ' canine-assisted therapy program based in Portland, Oregon, is hosting "read to the dogs" virtual sessions. Therapy dogs Kiev and Kashi are working from home, but still supporting families across the country.

“Both dogs love listening to the kids and they love hearing stories and for you to read books to them,” said Kathy Loter, Program Manager at Portland Area Canine Therapy Teams.

The team of therapy dogs typically does 250 to 300 visits a month in person. Now, hundreds of kids and adults have been joining the Facebook live sessions to still have that connection.

“It’s really helpful for families to find something that makes them feel like they're normal and I think this is one of those things that can do that,” said Loter.

Loter says reading to a dog can build a child's confidence. She says she's heard from kids who have participated in the Facebook live about the impact it's having.

Divine Canines, based in Austin, Texas, is another therapy dog organization taking its visits virtual.

The organization's executive director says people are loving the novelty of the therapy dogs being in their home virtually. He says they're trying to have the dogs go virtually to places they visited before.

“Having a visit from a dog, particularly a dog with a trained and certified handler who knows how to keep a conversation going, those things are truly in our opinion helping people feel better,” said Max Woodfin, Executive Director of Divine Canines.

You can get a virtual visit from both Divine Canines and DoveLewis' therapy dogs anywhere in the country.

You can contact Divine Canines through their website to see about setting up a virtual visit.

DoveLewis' "read to the dogs" virtual sessions are happening on its Facebook page every afternoon this week from 1 to 2 PST.
They'll share information about individual sessions for more interaction between the readers and the dogs.