I filled out the initial application to apply to get a "facility dog". That is a dog that is trained like a companion dog for individuals with disabilities, but it is assigned to a professional who works with individuals with disabilities. That person would of course be me, and possibly also Pops who is a physical therapist.
The dogs are labs or golden retrievers-or a mix of the 2. They are 2 years old when you get them. They have lived with and been trained by a family, very similar to how guide dogs for the blind are trained. The primary person who will be with the dog then has to go to 2 weeks training at the Canine Companion facility with the dog they will take home. Having and working with the dog is like having and working with a guide dog. The are working dogs. The application process is quite detailed and they are very choosy, rightfully so. For those who make it through the rigorous application process and are accepted to get a dog, the wait can still be 6 months to 2 years. So I thought I'd get going on it.
It is a dream of mine to be able to fully integrate a highly trained dog into my practice. I have seen some kids do signing, talking and playing for an animal (dog and guinea pig) that they didn't do for me. I'd also love to be able to have a dog to take and interact with kids in the special ed day classes etc.
Yes-that would mean that at the moment my home would be quite busy. That piece I'll get to later.
Will post more as I hear more.