Adopted dogs therapeutic to many
Sep 30, 2011
Smokey, a husky mix rescued from neglect as a puppy, broke a service-visit record when he visited the Palm Meadows Village Assisted Living Community on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It was the dog's 1,000th visit in his 3 years of life, The Island Packet reports.
Richie Czark, Smokey's owner, started a local chapter of Therapy Dog International (TDI), an organization that certifies dogs to visit facilities like nursing homes, hospitals and schools where they can be of help to people, the news source reports. So far, TDI has only recorded 500 service visits of a dog.
"We really don't have a record of anything above that," Mark McGrath, of TDI's New Jersey headquaters, told the news souce of Smokey's record. "Especially not for a dog that young."
According to TDI's website, all breeds of dogs can be certified and used as therapy dogs, including mixed breeds, those adopted from shelters, and those rescued from other situations. In 2010, the organization had about 24,000 dog and handler teams registered.
Smokey continues to brighten the days of seniors at the assisted living facility, and also volunteers with Czark at hospitals and the local Boys & Girls Club where children read to him.