Happy New Year! MAST got to interview one of our most humorous and tail waggy volunteer therapy dogs! He’s the January 2018 MASTDOG of the month. Isn’t he cute and cuddly? He is one of the most friendly dogs, and the senior in the group. Let’s get to know him!
What’s your name?
GROVER, but my friends call me Grovie, and sometimes, my mom calls me wiggly butt!
What breed are you?
My mom tells me I’m part Beagle (obviously), but also Jack Russell.
They don’t know for sure, because I was adopted.
What is your favorite spot to be pet?
My fanny!!!! I love when people scratch my fanny! I love my belly rubbed, too! What dog doesn’t?
How old are you?
OLD! My mommy & daddy have had me since 2007, so at least 10, but maybe even 11 or 12. In human years…WOW…I don’t even want to think about it.
How long have you been a therapy dog?
Approximately 1 year, since MAST started, but my mommy tells me I’ve provided therapy to her since I was adopted. Guess it’s always been in my blood.
What made you want to become a therapy dog?
Well, my daddy highly encouraged it, but I really like hanging out with my younger brother, Mason. Plus, I get to spend extra time with Daddy and I love visiting all the people, especially the ones who tell me they love beagles!
What is your favorite part about being a therapy dog?
Seeing all my furry and human friends, plus watching all the people in the hospitals get excited when we arrive! They make us feel like royalty!
What is the biggest surprise you’ve had while being a therapy dog?
The people! I know my mom and dad love me, but boy ‘o boy, was I amazed at how many dog lovers there out in the big world and what a difference even a little guy like me can make in someone’s day!
What is your favorite toy?
Toys, what are those? My younger brother, Mason and now our teeny tiny, adopted brother Liberty, steal them all from me. Besides, I’m more of a curl up on the couch dog.
What is your favorite treat?
BANANAAAAAAAAAAAA Bread! My dad makes it every week and me and my brothers LOVE it! Otherwise, pretty much anything that falls on the floor! I love to stand at my mom’s feet when she’s chopping up fresh fruits & veggies, YUMMO!
Do you have any favorite music?
Well, considering I am not allowed to touch the controls in the car, I’m pretty much at the will of my dad or mom. But this time of year, I love Christmas music!
What does a therapy dog do, in your own words?
We wag our tails, lick people’s faces and get to watch people laugh, squeal with delight, giggle and sometimes even cry because they are so happy to see us.
What type of dog makes a good candidate for therapy dog work?
As long as the dog has a great demeanor both with other dogs and people, any breed can make a great therapy dog! Besides, it’s always fun to see who’s going to show up. We have all different breeds from tiny lil dogs, to great big dogs. We look AWESOME walking through the halls of the hospitals.
What kind of training should a therapy dog yet?
Well, first and foremost, therapy dogs should have the basic obedience skills mastered. Because of the places we visit, it is important for us to always respond to our handlers, particularly in hospitals. Then, we attend actual therapy dog training classes to familiarize us with noises, different types of medical equipment and learning to work in groups. It’s a lot of fun and it gives me the chance to spend extra time with my mom or dad!
How much time do you spend being a therapy dog each month?
Several hours a week! My schedule right now requires very early start times on Tuesday & Thursday mornings for several hours. I can also work in the evening as well, depending on the week. Therapy dogs are in high demand because of the joy they bring to those we visit.
What is one suggestion you would to make to someone considering becoming a therapy dog team?
DO IT! Don’t pass go, don’t collect any doggie bones, just go! It is so rewarding not only for doggies, but their human handlers too!
What can a therapy dog teach us about being good citizens?
I think being a therapy dog is one of the best experiences, ever! We get to interact with other humans and furry friends, while at the same time doing something really good for people who really need a boost in their day! The more I make people smile, the faster my tails wags and there’s nothing better than that!
What do you do in your time off?
Daddy takes me to the doggie park! I love it because I go with my two brothers and we run and play. We get to make new friends too. Otherwise, a really good long nap is my second favorite thing to do, especially when it’s cold outside.