Swedish Vallhunds, owned by Michelle Gooden, LVT in our Surgery Division, Aria (three years old) and Tiwaz (eight years old) are both therapy dogs certified by Therapy Dogs International (TDI). They have been doing therapy dog visits since they were each a year old.
Aria and Tiwaz spend time at a psychiatric institute in Maryland where they visit with the patients, do tricks, watch TV, and enjoy giving and getting a lot of affection.
In addition, they spend time at a local boarding school for middle and high school students. There they sit with the students and give them lots of love and kisses.
The therapy dog job that Aria and Tiwaz enjoy the most is the Paws for Reading Program that allows them to go to schools and libraries. The Paws for Reading Program offers unconditional company for the kids as they work on their reading skills while reading out loud. While the kids are reading they give Aria and Tiwaz lots of kisses, pats, and belly rubs which are a favorite and they receive a lot of kisses and affection in return.
Aria and Tiwaz are involved in performance events as well. Despite a very busy schedule Michelle, Aria, and Tiwaz try to do a few therapy visits a month as it is very rewarding for everyone.