Great Southern Groodle Therapy Dogs
Due to our unique breeding philosophies, our in-depth Puppy Acclimation Program and our external Temperament Testing, Great Southern Groodles have the potential to be incredible Therapy Dogs. We work with Schools, Allied Health Professionals and hand selected families with additional medical and/or emotional needs. We will identify a suitable puppy with the intrinsic personality and behaviour traits to continue therapy training. We currently work with a number of organisations that can assist with the on-going training and certification and we will provide support on this journey.
Charlie supports his special human Mariah during her frequent hospital appointments and stays by her side while she recovers from difficult surgeries.
Zuko was chosen by his school teacher owner to become a therapy dog. See him in action here https://fb.watch/kiYkA2bknv/ (scroll through to 2mins 15 in the video)
Shady was chosen by his new Mum, a social worker. She hopes that he will be able to accompany her to work as a support in her therapy work.
Pixie was hand selected to work with a Paediatric Occupational Therapist in her private practice. Her temparement tests indicated she would be successful as a therapy dog. She is confident, calm and ready to work.
Perth Children's Hospital Foundation
We are privileged to work with the Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation. In December 2022 we donated a puppy to a loving family that is living through medically tough times.
We know our puppies spread joy and love and sometimes, a small gesture can go a long way. Families that spend considerable time within the walls of a hospital are resilient and deserve to know they are not alone.
We stand together with our fellow PCH warriors. Charlie is currently training with the West Australian Assistance and Therapy Dogs in order to be able to accompany Mariah to her PCH appointments admissions.
Puppies have a way of instantly melting hearts and nine-year-old Mariah was immediately smitten when she collected her new four-legged friend, Charlie.
“Charlie is my best friend and he’s the best Christmas present I’ve ever had,” exclaimed Mariah.
Living with the rare condition Treacher Collins Syndrome, Mariah has faced many health challenges and endured more than 20 operations in her short life. She has a tracheostomy tube in her neck to breath and last Christmas underwent major surgery to attach screws to her jaw.
Morning and night for 27 days, including Christmas Day, Mariah’s parents turned the screws so her jaw could grow by a millimetre a day. It was painful and distressing for the whole family.
“We’re seeing a lot of happiness right now which is such a contrast to last year which was hugely traumatic for us”, Mariah’s mum Emma said. “We’re just loving Mariah’s interaction with Charlie because he wants to play and have fun and cuddle and snuggle.”
The arrival of the adorable 12-week-old Groodle couldn’t be timelier. The family recently received unexpected and upsetting news that Mariah will need to undergo further debilitating jaw surgery, but Charlie is helping put smiles back on their faces this Christmas.
“It’s a big deal for her to go through, very challenging but then the universe handed us a gift! A little friend like Charlie is really going to help her mental health and help her pull through a bit better.”
Charlie was gifted by a very generous dog breeder in the Southern Wheatbelt.
“We have children the same age and I know that not everyone has an easy life, so we’re really motivated to give any kind of positivity and joy and share some love at Christmas,” explained Vicky from Great Southern Groodles.
Benefits of a Therapy Dog
If you are a looking for a therapy dog, we will support you every step of the way. We have excellent relationships with various organisations across Australia to enable you to continue training.
The puppy will be thoroughly assessed prior to going home with you and will have had the very best start to life. We will build the vital foundations to ensure future success.
Great Southern Groodles can make wonderful Therapy dogs. They can provide significant emotional support and assistance to children with various emotional needs. Their presence and interactions can help create a calming and comforting environment, promote positive emotions, and facilitate communication and engagement.
Here are some ways in which therapy dogs assist children with emotional needs:
1. Reducing Anxiety and Stress:
Therapy dogs have a natural ability to sense and respond to human emotions. Their presence alone can help reduce anxiety and stress levels in children. Petting and interacting with a friendly dog can trigger the release of oxytocin, a hormone associated with relaxation and bonding.
2. Providing Comfort:
Children who are experiencing emotional distress, such as grief, trauma, or anxiety, often find comfort in the companionship of a therapy dog. The dog’s non-judgmental and unconditional love can help children feel safe and secure.
3. Boosting Mood:
Interacting with a therapy dog can lead to an increase in the production of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that play a role in mood regulation. This can help uplift a child’s mood and promote feelings of happiness and well-being.
4. Encouraging Communication:
Some children may have difficulty expressing their emotions verbally. The presence of a therapy dog can serve as a bridge to communication, as children often feel more comfortable opening up while interacting with a dog. This can lead to improved communication skills and increased self-expression.
5. Distraction and Play:
Engaging with a therapy dog through activities such as play and petting can divert a child’s attention away from distressing thoughts or situations. Playful interactions with the dog can bring joy and laughter, helping to alleviate emotional discomfort.
6. Building Trust and Empathy:
The consistent and gentle nature of therapy dogs can help children build trust and develop empathy. Through their interactions with the dog, children can learn about compassion, respect, and understanding.
7. Promoting Social Interaction:
Children who struggle with social interactions may find it easier to engage with others when a therapy dog is present. The dog’s presence can serve as a conversation starter and facilitate connections with peers and adults.
8. Supporting Therapeutic Activities:
Therapy dogs can be integrated into various therapeutic activities, such as counselling sessions, art therapy, and occupational therapy. The dog’s presence can enhance the effectiveness of these interventions and create a positive and motivating atmosphere.
9. Coping with Transitions:
Therapy dogs can be especially helpful for children navigating challenging life transitions, such as hospitalisation, moving to a new environment, or adjusting to changes in their family structure. The dog’s constant presence can provide stability and comfort during uncertain times.
It’s important to note that therapy dogs working with children should be well-trained, socialised, and certified by a reputable therapy dog organisation. Additionally, the presence of a therapy dog should complement professional therapeutic interventions and not replace them.