In our eyes, all dogs are good dogs.
The people behind Good Dog Foundation in Hudson, New York feel the same way. They’ve been helping canines of all kinds to become therapy dogs for more than 25 years. Thousands of people have benefitted from their training and guidance.
Good Dog Foundation offers dog owners the chance to get a volunteer certification with their dogs in just four 90-minute classes. The program uses basic obedience classes combined with lessons on impulse control to certify dogs. A volunteer certification enables people to bring their dogs to public places to help humans in a variety of situations, from elementary schools to nursing homes.
The organization also offers training for critical response certification and professional certification. Critical response certification is when dogs enter crisis zones to help victims of shootings, natural disasters, and other traumas. Professional certification is for educators and therapists to use in their professional practice.
Every year, Good Dog Foundation trains around 300 dog teams. More than 100,000 people in the tri-state area benefit from these highly-trained animals!
The students in Martha Gold’s elementary school classroom in Manhattan are some of the lucky beneficiaries of a Good Dog Foundation graduate. Martha completed the program with her dog, Oliver, over four years ago, and he’s been coming to school with her every day since.
Martha told TODAY that Oliver is a “rock star” at school, and he helps children find the confidence to read out loud and express themselves honestly.
“The kids that feel funny about reading in public or even speaking in public feel good with him,” the teacher explained.
“When I read to Oliver, he’s somebody that actually listens to me,” a student agreed.
“There’s a connection that Oliver has with all the students that really feeds into their souls and spirits and really comforts them,” said Cindy Wang, the principal at the school.
Emily Kaye took her husky, Laska, to Good Dog Foundation to get their volunteer certification too. Now she takes the big fluffy dog to a nursing home every week, and he’s become a beloved figure there.
“It’s as important to our healing as the medicine I take,” said New Jewish Home resident David of his time with Laska.
“(It) seems like when you need them, they’re there for you,” fellow resident Laurie agreed.
Dogs have unlimited potential to help their humans. It seems we’re always discovering another important way that they ease our burdens. As the saying goes, “we don’t deserve dogs!”
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