I am a certified Therapy Dog with Therapy Dogs, Singapore (TDS) !!! :) :)
Well, what I do is that I will go to old folks home, Institute of Mental Health (IMH) and Bishan Home for the Intellectually Disabled (BHID) for therapy sessions with the patients there.
Well, its acutally kind of an easy job, what I do is just to sit or lie there for the patients to hug, kiss, touch and errr ... yes ... grope me (sometimes!!)
Some times, some patients will even talk to me, and I will have to open my ears BIG BIG .... as BIG as I could and give them my most charming smile.
Well, not everyone can be a therapy dog. We have to go through a temperament test by a US trained certified trainer.
What happens is that the trainer will assess our temperament by :-
1) leaving us in a room alone without our owners and see our response, whether we will be nervous, whine or start having a nervous breakdown or something. What happens is that sometimes, when we go for therapy sessions, we will be left alone without our owners, well, our owners do need to visit the toilet or something right?
2) having someone holding an umbrella, crutches, or wheelchair in the room. These are the things that we see in old folks homes and hospice, so we must be BRAVE and not show any fear in them :)
3) and we must also know some basic obedience, like not accepting food when we are not told to. Who knows what the patients will feed us right?
4) we will also be left in a room with dogs, we must be basically sociable as we do not want to see dogs fight in the home. That will be an ultimate embarrasement and the patients will be scared of us then.
Well, I guess that's basically what happens during the assessment and those who make it through the assessment can be a therapy dog LIKE ME :)
As of the last headcount, there are about 35 therapy dogs with TDS currently.
And here's my pass :)
Now, before everyone starts thinking along the wrong line, this pass is NOT for me. Every patients in the home can see who are the THERAPY DOGS, as in DOGS must be 4-legged right? So, this passed is more for my human companion. Just in case my other doggy friends mistook my human companion for a patient or something .... hiak hiak hiak ....
Or when my human companion got lost, they can be return to us, the dogs.
If you want to join me, you can register at www.tdspore.org