Therapy Dog Finds Home With Minot Service - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Therapy Dog Finds Home With Minot Service

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It started as an idea to help children in the Minot community just one-year-ago.

"We thought a therapy dog that would live with the children at the children's home could really benefit those them and the services we provide," says Terry Peterson the director of development at Rehab Services Inc.

And, word traveled all the way to Pennsylvania.

"They asked us if we could fulfill their wish list of what they wanted with a dog, and we thought we would give it a try," says Therapy Dog United founder Pat Christianson.

For years, Therapy Dog United has been training dogs in Eerie and Pittsburgh, Penn. But, now, they're hoping to send the joy to Minot.

"A therapy dog is nothing more than a dog that provides comfort and support," says Christianson.

After months of looking, Rehab Services finally found Hutch, a certified therapy dog for their group home. 

But, it takes a lot of hard work to prepare an animal to work with children with autism.

"I've taught him to go up to children and let him pet them. With some children, they can take him on a walk around the classroom. With other children, for example in wheelchairs, I put him up close to them, so they can touch him and pet him," says Phyllis Aiello a trainer at Therapy Dog United.

Every Tuesday, Hutch attends barber school where he visits four classrooms, learning a variety of skills.

"You can view a therapy dog working with children with developmental disabilities and see the progress they can make in communication, social behavior, responsibility and caring for that animal. It is really a significant thing, and that's  why we are doing it," says Peterson.

And, as Hutch continues to make progress, RSI is informed every step of the way. 

"We get updated pictures, videos, notes from their volunteer trainers," says Peterson.

With less than two-months to go, the kids are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their new friend.

Hutch will be the first therapy dog of its kind in the area.  He's expected to arrive in Minot sometime in May.   

 

 

 

 

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