His voice was strong, as he sang “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray.” The others in the room cheerfully joined in without missing a beat. I struggled to keep my composure as tears flowed down my face. It was Thanksgiving and Dennis and I were visiting Ponte Palmero, a memory care facility in Cameron Park, with our pet therapy dogs, Lola and Gibbs.
Lola and I started obedience training shortly after we got her. I fell in love with the bond we developed, and it became an easy decision to expand our training into pet therapy. The testing process was a little nerve racking, but it had become an important rite of passage.
After Lola and I registered with Pet Partner, Dennis started training with Gibbs. He was a younger dog and a bit rambunctious, which makes him irresistible. Gibbs training went very well, and it didn’t take long for him to learn the specifics of being a pet therapy dog.
Dennis and I visit care facilities with Lola and Gibbs, as time allows. However, I am the first to admit it’s not nearly enough. Our therapy dogs help break down barriers and open conversation that we otherwise would not have. The visits are as magically for us, and they are for those we visit.