Masonic Association of Service and Therapy Dogs
By Kaylynn Brewton
Have you ever seen a dog on an elevator? Did it look scared? Well the dogs that work with the Masonic Association of Service and Therapy Dogs (M.A.S.T.) are trained not to be. Can you imagine having 10 dogs on a small elevator? MAST is a program all dog lovers should get involved with because you can bring your dog to visit people in hospitals, you are volunteering and helping your dog, you are also able to choose what type of training your dog has.
You can Bring Your Dog to Visit People in Hospitals and Other Places.
We go to the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center to see the people that live there. We go Shriners Children’s hospital and see all of the children, cheer them up and let them pet the dogs. We also go to the Illinois Masonic hospital, as well as hospital events. We participate in parades, Honor Flights and even go to schools!
You are volunteering and helping your dog.
Your dog will learn manners and not take food out of peoples hands. They will learn how to stay at the heel position (your dog’s shoulder should be lined up with your left leg side by side facing front or towards you) and how to follow simple and complicated commands in crowded places. The dogs have to be able to do and not do specific things in order to be a therapy dog, a service dog, or a compassionate response dog.
There are Different Types of Training for You and Your Dog.
M.A.S.T. holds training classes out at the Tops Training facility for dogs who will become Therapy dogs, Compassionate Response dogs, as well as Service dogs. There is a difference between each type of dog, they can be small and big
differences. Compassionate response dogs are trained to help people of all ages going through court, law reinforcement, and catastrophes. They also provide support for people experiencing trauma.
Service dogs are trained for YOU and ONLY YOU. These dogs are trained only by doctors note. Your doctor has to prescribe a service dog. Service dogs are the ones who nobody can touch.
Therapy dogs are trained to handle going to hospitals, events, as well as nursing homes. Therapy dogs are safe to pet just as long as their vest says “therapy dog please pet me”.
The Masonic Association of Service and Therapy Dogs is an amazing program and you yourself can get involved. So grab your dog and its leash and start volunteering!
Check out this website, what these dogs say in their interviews for the blog are hilarious! Here is a question and answer from the 2018 May Mast Dog of the month, Jachin: What is your favorite spot to be pet? My BOOTY!! I love being pet in genera!, but I tend to back my booty up into people so they know what I like the most.
Kaylynn is a volunteer Junior Handler for MAST. She is currently in certification training with her partner Buddy, however she is no stranger to volunteering. She has joined MAST on visits with her grandpa Handler Bill and his dog Dandy. She has been surrounded by dogs all her life and has an affinity for dogs and visiting patients. She brings a smile to everybody she meets. She also was a lead on the MAST parade float building squad–so she is multi-talented! She is a big part of the future of the MAST organization! Thank you for your essay Kaylynn!
To learn more about M.A.S.T, to volunteer, and to sign up for our therapy dog certification program, visit our website.