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Murray is nine now, and his back right leg is getting pretty shakey. It's been getting harder and harder for him to visit everyone in the nursing home on his pet therapy visits.
So yesterday I met with the new young director of children's services at our local library: starting Sept 10th Murray and I will be doing a one hour reading program for kids grades 1-4 every second Saturday. They're giving us a cozy carpeted corner with cushions and floor to ceiling windows. The director will pick a variety of books and let each child decide what he or she wants to read to Murray in a 15 minute time slot.
The best thing is that all Murray will have to do is walk from the car into the library elevator, go to our area, and stretch out while the kids pet him and read to him: alot less work for him! I know he'll think this is a good deal!!
 

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I think this is great in so many ways. As a teacher, I know how some little ones struggle with reading & I see how this would be a big confidence boost for them - dogs don't judge. :) It also gives them experience just being with a calm friendly dog when so much of their life is chaotic. And how great for Murray, to just be able to lay & enjoy their companionship. :)
 

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Yay, Murray's mom, what a terrific solution! congrats on being so giving and volunteering your time to do these things.

my person thought about having me be a therapy dog too and going to hospital and nursing homes. but she wasn't sure about picking up infections and stuff-- did you or Murray have any problems w/that? do you have to bathe him before and after each visit? has Murray enjoyed his visits to the nursing home?
--thanks, Worm
 

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Yay Murray!!! That sounds like an awesome use of time. And kids will love reading to him I'm sure! Good luck with the new endeavor.
 

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Yay, Murray's mom, what a terrific solution! congrats on being so giving and volunteering your time to do these things.

my person thought about having me be a therapy dog too and going to hospital and nursing homes. but she wasn't sure about picking up infections and stuff-- did you or Murray have any problems w/that? do you have to bathe him before and after each visit? has Murray enjoyed his visits to the nursing home?
--thanks, Worm
Those are good questions:

If Murray has any raw spots from scratching due to his allergies we don't do nursing home visits, but I don't bathe him after visits. As for myself, I do take a shower and put clothing in the laundry when I get home. The nursing home I visit also requires volunteers to take a yearly TB test which they administer. If there is an outreak of flu in our area, they notify me and tell me not to come; and if a particular patient is infectious it is posted on the door and we are not allowed to enter that room.

Murray has enjoyed his nursing home visits and his patients will miss him, but I recruited a new team to take over for me. I'm looking forward to Murray's new career at the library.

If you're not comfortable with visiting health facilities, there are lots of other things you can do with your dog as a pet therapy team: we've done educational programs for Brownie troops to teach them about dog care basics, have given talks to future doctors, Masons, and Kiwanas to explain the benefits of pet therapy and what our organization does in our community, and now the reading program among other things.

If you're intersted in getting involved in pet therapy, find out which organization is active in your area (you can ask local hospitals what organization does visits at their facility), and go from there.
 

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Oh the kids are going to go crazy!! He will have groupies bum rushing the elevator! Better get ready for lots of pawtographs!! Oh & who doesn't like an hour long belly rub!
 

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Awwh, what a great idea! Kudos to you and Murray for being so generous of your time and love to nursing home patients......I know first hand how much this is appreciated!
 
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