By Jan Clark-George, President
K-9 Komfort Chapter, Love on a Leash
"Can we pet your dog?" is a question we hear a lot when we are at the mall, in a restaurant or at the senior center. A therapy dog's job is to be petted and to give comfort to those who need and enjoy it. Many times a service dog is confused with a therapy dog. The jobs are very different.
While both wear the highly recognized red vest, a service dog receives extensive and specific training sometimes lasting a couple of years. They may serve the blind, the deaf, physically handicapped, emotionally handicapped, etc. They usually begin their training with a volunteer until they are deemed ready to serve. Then the trainer gives them over to the new and very excited owner.
A therapy dog, in order to qualify, must pass a temperament/obedience test before he can continue with further training. Once that requirement is met, they progress to 10 hours of supervised training in a setting that is typical; such as, a senior care facility. When that is completed, the owner then applies for their membership in a certified therapy organization. The dog belongs and stays with their owner.
K-9 Komfort is the newest chapter of Love on a Leash. Membership includes insurance for possible mishaps. There are other organizations that have similar requirements.
Pictured is Pam Metzger with Bonkers, our newest therapy dog graduate. Roy Lopaus is a resident at Chancellor Place in Murrieta. Most of our visiting is done there as the staff and residents are always happy to see us. We have established some great friendships over the last year.
If anyone is interested, e-mail: loveonaleash.org