Well, I think it may finally be summer in Chicago. KIDDING, who knows. But hey, it’s MAY. And we have one of the most energetic and happy pups for you to get to know this month. He is a mixed breed, but entirely a lovebug. He leaves his positive energy with everyone he meets! Let’s get to know him!

What is your name?

My name is Jachin – like bacon!  Jachin and Boaz were the pillars of King Solomon’s temple. Jachin means wisdom!

What breed are you?

I am a mutt! Mom swabbed my cheeks last month and we found out that I’m mostly Australian Shepherd mixed with Boston Terrier, Tibetan Spaniel, American Stafford-shire Terrier, and Australian Cattle Dog. I like being a mixed breed pooch and I’m unique!

How old are you?

I am one year and four months old. I have a LOT of puppy left in me.

How long have you been a therapy dog?

I’ve been an official certified good boy for almost three months now.  I started my therapy dog training with MAST when my mom brought me home almost five months ago!

What made you want to become a therapy dog?

Well, I was a service dog first, but my situation wasn’t ideal. I needed a new home and my mom saved the day! Shortly after moving into my forever home I became incredibly social, energetic, and outgoing which are great qualities of a therapy dog! I realized that every time we volunteer I get lots of attention, hugs, and butt scratches, and I knew this was the career path for me!!

How long did it take you to become certified?

Since I was initially trained as a service dog, I knew all of the commands when my mom and I began working together.  I had to train my mom to handle me.  It took her a while, but she’s doing a good job I think.

What is your favorite part about being a therapy dog?

Where do I begin!? I really love to make people smile.  When my mom puts my vest on and we walk out the door, I sprint the whole way to the hospital.  Well, to the car, and then from the car into the hospital.  I love car rides!!  Where was I?… Oh, right!  I’m always excited when my vest is on because I know that I’m about to make a lot of people happy.  The patients and staff always tell us that we make their day and that makes me feel good. The treats and butt scratches are great bonuses.

What is the biggest surprise you’ve had while being a therapy dog?

I GET SO MANY TREATS! I know exactly which nurses keep yummies in their pockets or desks and as soon as we hit their floor I run straight to them. The Eye Institute at Illinois Masonic never lets me down. Sometimes I jump on their desks when I’m feeling super eager.

What is your favorite toy?

Mom’s running shoes!!!! They’re stinky but for some reason I love to get my chompers all over them. If she takes them away I go for my rawhide bones.

What is your favorite treat?

My mom gives me super healthy chicken treats and I like them a lot.  She also puts easy cheese inside my Kong toy and that’s always a good time!!  I’m really not picky, though.  I’ll eat literally anything.

What is your favorite spot to be pet?

My BOOTY!! I love being pet in general, but I tend to back my booty up into people so they know what I like the most.

Do you have any favorite music?

Whenever mom leaves the house she turns on a country music radio station.  I also get to hear all of her playlists for her fitness classes which include every genre.  Her playlists get me super excited to play fetch!  When my mom wants me to calm down and get ready for bed she turns on soothing instrumental music.  I guess you can say I’m pretty cultured when it comes to music!

What does a therapy dog do, in your own words?

As a therapy dog, my job is to volunteer at places with lots of humans and my goal is to make them all smile.

What type of dog makes a good candidate for therapy dog work?

Therapy dogs should be loving, friendly, outgoing, and have good social skills. We have to be kind and respectful to our furry colleagues and our people. That’s the easy part, though. I love everyone involved with MAST!

What kind of training should a therapy dog get?

The program I went through took 10 weeks and I think it was the perfect amount of time. It takes a lot of practice to sync up with our handlers and learn the commands just right. We all need to know what to do in every possible scenario. We practice ignoring distractions and avoiding food temptations (THIS ONE IS SO HARD). After ten weeks we’ve all come a long way and are ready to be certified good boys and good girls!!

How much time do you spend being a therapy dog each month?

I volunteer at least once a week – sometimes even more depending on my mom’s schedule! The Illinois Masonic Hospital is my favorite place to go! I also enjoy visits to the VA and Shriner’s Children’s Hospital.

What is one suggestion you would to make to someone considering becoming a therapy dog team?

DO IT.  If you can make at least one person’s day a little brighter, it’s entirely worth it. My mom and I just want to make the world a better place and this is a good way to help make that happen!

What can a therapy dog teach us about being good citizens?

Therapy dogs love all beings equally and unconditionally. (Maybe a little more if they have treats.) We are considerate of others’ needs and feelings and we genuinely want to spread happiness and love. We also have exceptional elevator etiquette.

What do you do in your time off?

My mom and I take lots of walks throughout the neighborhood. I love when she takes me to visit the gym she works at – everyone is always excited to see me and they give great butt scratches! Mom has been making me run a mile with her every once in a while and WOAH is it tiring. I lay on the floor and nap for at least an hour when we get back home. Sometimes I play with my brother, Tommy, but he isn’t as excited about my advances as I am. I don’t understand felines. I make sure to take a few naps during the day so I have plenty of energy to run all around the house right before bedtime.

Jachin, you are definitely a highly qualified certified good boy, and we love you. Jachin would love for you to follow him on Instagram! @goodboyjachin

And if you are interested in volunteering with MAST, please check out this page for more info!