Theo the Animal Assisted Therapy Dog

Please Note: The dog in the accompanying photograph is the subject of the story, but any persons shown are probably not those in the story.

Photograph of Theo dog

All the Love On 4 Paws' dogs are great with people and love their job. My dog, Theo, was never supposed to be a therapy dog. Theo was uncomfortable around strangers and had a difficult time learning basic commands. When my first therapy dog started aging, I knew it was time to find another dog to carry on her legacy. After trying to train another dog with no success, I decided it was Theo's turn to shine. I found a good trainer, and to my amazement, Theo learned to do a sit, stay and down and even appeared to enjoy the process.

After Theo passed the Love On 4 Paws' test, we began visiting locations where he would not be overwhelmed. Gradually, he began to embrace the experience and when he first approached a person, I was so proud of him that I gave him a big hug and a special treat.

Theo now makes people feel better when he visits, but the experience has also given him a purpose and a better quality of life. We always focus on the power the dogs have to help humans feel better. But in Theo’s case, his work has transformed him from a shy, insecure dog into a confident therapy dog.

He's always happy to put on his vest, because he knows it's his "time to shine." I am very proud of him!