Posted at wdrb.com: Jul 22, 2013 3:38 PM EDTUpdated: Jul 24, 2013 1:52 PM EDT
By Valerie Chinn
Louisville, KY (WDRB) — Dogs are man’s best friend, but they are also helping provide therapy and valuable services to people with disabilities. Some local children on Monday saw first-hand how dogs can perform different tasks and help children and adults.
A Golden Retriever named Sage and a mixed-breed dog named Wilson who loves to relax brought smiles and laughs to the St. Vincent de Paul Summer Program.
The dogs are with Paws with Purpose, a group that provides assistance dogs to children and adults with physical disabilities and other special needs.
Meghan Wnorowski, an Art Expressive Therapist at Our Lady of Peace, says, “It’s really about education and that dogs serve more purpose than just being pets. They serve so many different roles and there’s a lot of healing that can come from just the interaction you can get from these dogs.”
Five-year-old Mark enjoyed the lesson about therapy dogs. He’s attending this summer camp for children who used to be homeless. Ellis says, “I did this with the food and the dog did it and I feeded the dog.”
Twenty kids have been participating in the free program that provides classroom activities, along with fun programs like this.
Therapy dogs provide comfort and companionship and help break down social barriers. Wnorowski says, “Some people they may take for granted they had a dog growing up, but not everyone gets that luxury because it is a luxury. Hopefully this may inspire them with different things they may want to do with their life.”
While this visit was only 60 minutes, these kids are sure to remember this for a long time.
Ellis says, “My favorite trick was all the tricks.”
Paws with Purpose says it will start training 10 more new puppies next week. That training can take two to three years.