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Bethany Gately's Senior Year Project


Dog Therapy

My project focuses on the world of therapy dog teams (one dog, one human) and the remarkable results they achieve through their work. Therapy dogs visit hospitals, nursing homes, hospice homes and other facilities catering to the needs of suffering individuals. Just the presence of an animal in the room reduces stress, lowers heart rate, and brings light into an otherwise dark time of a person's life. Animals have a healing agent that is mostly unexplainable, yet incredible in its overall power. I want to research what is required of the animals themselves, and what makes a great therapy dog. Are certain breeds better than others? Must the dogs be innately well-behaved, or can they learn the required behaviors? I plan to watch these dogs at work in all types of settings and record my observations through written notes, and photos. I hope to see the differences in the animals themselves and how their specific jobs complement their individual personalities. My own dog, Reggie, will be my main case study as I follow his journey to becoming a therapy dog. I hope to prove that with proper training, any dog may be eligible for therapy work.
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"Whoever said you can't buy happiness forgot little puppies."
- Gene Hill


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