Hospice of Southwest Georgia offers pet therapy program

Published 6:35 am Friday, April 26, 2013

“Furry Friends” — Hospice of Southwest Georgia’s dog therapy group — has helped bring love to many hospice patients since the program began just over a year ago, according to a press release from Archbold Medical Center.
Specially trained hospice volunteers — who also happen to be dedicated pet owners — have completed special training with their dogs through the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Certification program. The dogs also completed Dog Therapy International testing and became certified therapy dogs.
Not to be confused with service dogs, therapy dogs help patients by simply visiting them. These special dogs have an ability to connect with and bring joy to all kinds of people, even those who are normally unresponsive or disconnected from their environments.
Hospice of Southwest Georgia will be holding pet therapy training classes for new volunteers and their pets in May. An informational session will take place Wednesday, May 1, at the new Hospice of Southwest Georgia location in Bainbridge on Donalson Street, at 5 p.m. Prospective volunteers from all neighboring counties are encouraged to attend.
Pet therapy classes will be held in Cairo, Ga., on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m., beginning May 7, for six consecutive weeks, and will be taught by Leigh Ann Falconer of “Bark Busters.” To enroll in the class or for more information on how to participate in Furry Friends, call Debra Taylor at (229) 493-8912.

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