Happy New Year from your friends at MAST!

Let’s meet our MASTdog of January! He was in one of the original MAST classes at TOPs in Grayslake, and he is a sweetheart. MAST is lucky to have him. Maybe you’ll see him out and about at one of our events this year!

What is your name? Woody. I was named after Woody from Toy Story, my human sister’s favorite movie when I was adopted.

What breed are you? Labrador Retriever

Were you a rescue? I was at a kill shelter in Kentucky after being picked up as a stray. A nice lady got me out of that horrible place and drove me to a place Bolingbrook. My mom and dad, human sister Serena, and canine sister Holly drove down to a PetSmart there and adopted me.

How old are you? I am 10 years old.

How long have you been a therapy dog? I passed my test in September 2017.

What made you want to become a therapy dog? I love spending time with my family, and my mom thought being a therapy dog was a good way for all of us to spend time together while helping other people. My canine sister Jenna is also a therapy dog, so the whole family usually comes along.

How long did it take you to become certified? My class was 10 weeks long, and then I took the test. The hardest part of the test was walking by the McDonald’s cheeseburger that was on the floor without grabbing it. But I listened to my mom and we passed.

What is your favorite part about being a therapy dog? I love meeting new people and having them scratch my ears.

What is the biggest surprise you’ve had while being a therapy dog? How happy people get when they see us walking towards them with our vests on. People love us!!

What is your favorite toy? There is only one toy that I really love, and that is a yellow stuffed cat. I’ve had it since I came to live here, and I love cuddling with it. Sometimes I put it in a death shake when I am feeling playful.

What is your favorite treat? I absolutely love peanut butter!

What is your favorite spot to be pet? Every morning, I ask for a tummy scratch. It is my favorite!

Do you have any favorite music? Classical music, because it is soothing and I am an old man.

What does a therapy dog do, in your own words? Makes people happy.

What type of dog makes a good candidate for therapy dog work? I think any dog that likes meeting people and other dogs is a good candidate.

What kind of training should a therapy dog get? Basic obedience, including not eating food off the floor. Sometimes I have a hard time with that one, since I am all Labrador!

How much time do you spend being a therapy dog each month? Some months, I am busier than others. In December, I went to visit an elementary school, a high school, a library and I brought cheer to the naval recruits on Christmas morning. Most months, I visit the VA hospital 1-2 times per month.

What is one suggestion you would make to someone considering becoming a therapy dog team? Make sure that you like meeting new people and having them pet you.

What can a therapy dog teach us about being good citizens? I like feeling that I am helping people who need some emotional support.

What do you do in your time off? I sleep a lot, or stand at the front window and watch the cars drive by. If Mom is home working, I help her out by putting my head in her lap so it is easier for her to scratch my ears.

Do you have any quirks? My mom says that I have a perfect heart shaped nose!

Any last comments? I love being a therapy dog, it’s the best!

Thank you for the interview Woody, you are a sweet, sweet boy. I remember first meeting you at a party, you sat by me and I knew you were special and a perfect snuggler right away. I see a lot of peanut butter in your future this year!

If you are interested in volunteering with MAST, please check out this page for more info.