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Author: OriginalServices.com
Posted: April 10, 2010 @ 10:41 am GMT
Views: 824

Have a what? Havanese, that's what! My dog Pavlov is an absolute bundle of fluffy, puffy, sneezy, sniffy playfulness.

I am a volunteer in a hospital, and I have high hopes of training Pavlov to be a therapy dog. I can just see him giving comfort and affection in that setting, and I know with his personality he'd improve the general well-being of our patients. I am a real dog lover, and I've seen so many inspirational programs about therapy dogs. It's something I would love to accomplish in my old age, and my sense is that Pavlov would be perfect for it. The American Heart Association says that a 12-minute visit with a therapy dog lowers blood pressure and reduces stress hormones, and generally eases anxiety in hospitalized patients. Just think what it can do for healthy people! Therapy dogs have been shown to improve the focus and memory of patients with Alzheimer's, and to encourage speech and simple physical activities among stroke victims and individuals with impaired mobility.

Many organizations now test and provide accreditation to therapy dogs. The dogs must meet rigorous standards of temperament and obedience; they have to be accepting toward friendly strangers, sit and stay on command, be able to walk through a crowd with wheelchairs, and not startle easily. I know Pavlov will meet these requirements with ease. I will soon be enrolling him in one of these training programs and can't wait to find out if I'm right about his talents.

Havanese are highly trainable, and like many dog breeds, they make natural companions. They are gentle and responsive and really aim to please their people. I know Pavlov will realize my pleasure in seeing him give hospital patients his warm, furry, affection.

Pavlov is terrific with children. He's a cheerful dog and very sociable. I think he just sees a child as another puppy to play with. There are many sick children where I volunteer, so he will be put to good use. He gets along well with just about everyone and anything, including other animals. He's rarely shy around new people.

One of the things I have had to stay on top of with Pavlov is his coat. It has to be brushed thoroughly before he's bathed. If I don't follow this routine, I just about have a nervous breakdown when trying to brush it out later on! Patience when being groomed is not one of his skills. So doing things right and keeping a regular grooming routine have paid off for both of us.

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