My name is Fred. I am a therapy dog and companion animal for Mary Beth George. Sometimes I join her in therapy sessions to offer comfort and support for her clients.
I was born on September 3, 2016. My history is not clear but I know I was surrendered by my original owners to Montgomery County Shelter in 2018. Because I am such a sweet and good-looking dude, the shelter turned me over to IDOG Labradoodle Rescue. I needed treatment for heartworm before I could be adopted. They received 50 applications and selected the George’s to be my fur-ever family.
Even though I was already a well-behaved dog, my mom signed me up for training with Bobbye J. Smith at Let’s Go Train Dogs. Bobbye trains therapy dogs at Humble ISD and quickly realized I would be great at doing animal assisted therapy. Over the course of a few months I completed all levels of training, including meeting the criteria to a be an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen.
My mom completed a 2-Day Certificate Course in Animal Assisted Therapy to learn how to best utilize my charm and loving nature in her therapy sessions. Here’s what I can offer her clients:
- I always give a warm greeting. I want to you to feel welcome in our office. I never judge people and accept you for who you are.
- Please pet me to feel my soft fur. It’s very comforting for both of us. I am non-shedding so you don’t have to worry about fur getting on your clothes.
- You can talk to me. If you don’t want to talk to my mom or your partner, I will listen with great enthusiasm. I promise to keep everything you say a secret.
- I sense when people need me. If you are upset I may come and sit by you or put my head on your lap. I help boost a hormone called oxytocin, aka “the cuddle hormone”, so if you pet me you might find it very soothing. Studies have shown that the presence of a friendly animal can help reduce heart rate and blood pressure.
- I work well with people who are stressed, anxious or have PTSD. You can learn how to be calm by modeling what I do, such as slow breathing and being present in the moment. If you put your hand on me and try to breathe like I do, you will be able to calm yourself more quickly.
- Sometimes I will lay down by your feet. I want to be close in case you need me. Feel free to reach down and rub my belly. It makes me very happy and I think you will like it too. If I sense you are just fine I may take a nap on the other side of the room. But if you need me, call me by my name and I will come sit by you.
If you are afraid of dogs or have allergies, I will be happy to take a day off from the office. Mary Beth will always ask your permission before she brings me into a session, but please don’t hesitate to let her know that you prefer not have me in the room. There will be a stuffed animal to take my place.