Bentley... therapeutic or not??
Updated: Sep 10, 2020
Bentley is home and we are in love. He is a big ball of fluff and energy. In the 4 weeks that he has been home he has solidified his understanding of "sit", "down", and "leave it" and he honors those requests.... most of the time. Bentley gets a walk every day and nearly every day we are stopped by neighbors asking about him; what breed is he, where did we get him, how old is he, etc., often it leads to the discussion of his eventually joining me in my private practice as a therapy dog. On walks he is cool, calm and collected and every one agrees his temperament is remarkable. But as I sit and drink my coffee here this morning and I watch his chaotic movements around my kitchen, picking up kids shoes and moving them around, sniffing every inch of wood floor, nudging my elbow, I wonder..... what was I thinking?? Did I make a mistake with this wild boy? So I took to the internet for some reassurance! The first story that I found was The Healing Power of Dogs on National Geographic.
This article from 2012 outlines the therapeutic support dogs offered the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School and briefly discusses the origin of canine/human companionship.
People also benefit from interacting with canines. Simply petting a dog can decrease levels of stress hormones, regulate breathing, and lower blood pressure. Research also has shown that petting releases oxytocin, a hormone associated with bonding and affection, in both the dog and the human.
As I read this article, and Bentley finally relaxes and lays at my feet, I am reminded that this is what I want for my practice. He is almost 4 months old and already adding value and love to my life. I am confident he will add value to the journey the women and men I have the privilege of standing beside are on.
Just look at that face.....