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Therapy Dog Gracie

We are thrilled to have a furry, four legged golden retriever as our therapy dog.  Gracie comes to us after completing requirements for certification.  Gracie brings enthusiasm and energy to her role here at the Center and can often be seen romping around the grounds.

So, what is a therapy dog?  Therapy dogs provide emotional service to people dealing with hardships in their lives (Therapy dogs are not to be confused with service dogs who aid those with disabilities).  They are dogs that are considered calm, tolerant and friendly.  They offer emotional support simply through their presence and willingness to be touched.  In addition to this, developing a bond with a therapy dog will often help reduce anxiety in people and may open up conversation with someone who is shy.

There are many positive effects on human health when animals are involved; the human- animal bond is powerful.  It is well documented that a few minutes of stroking a dog helps lower blood pressure, prompts the release of a number of “feel good” hormones including serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin and decreases the primary stress hormone, cortisol.  Of course, the dog benefits from these changes in hormones too!

Gracie will visit with the children in our children’s programs here at the Center.  If requested for therapy, she will also be available.  Gracie will bring unquestionable acceptance, companionship and immediate devotion.  One thing is for sure, she will never turn a pet or a hug away!