The Canine Company is a service group which is part of Albany Obedience Club, Inc. We are dedicated to sharing our dogs by visiting the sick in hospitals, the elderly in nursing homes, and the children in elementary schools.
Our group consists of well-mannered, friendly dogs and their human companions who care about people and dogs and the therapeutic value of the relationship between them. We share this therapeutic love and respect for animal companions with the people of our communities. To this end, our dogs have paraded, carried banners, pulled carts, played ball, fetched, played dead, as well as demonstrated obedience routines in wards and cafeterias, across pavements and lawns. Most importantly, our dogs have received and returned love on a one-on-one basis with many who have so little chance to communicate this basic need. We are booked solid several months in advance. Some of our members spend as many as 200 hours a year brightening the day for the people of their communities.
DOES A THERAPY DOG DO?
What does a therapy dog do? Perhaps you have to be confined to a hospital bed, or a wheelchair, or the day room at a nursing home for a prolonged period of time to really know for sure. You need only to experience the pain of affliction, loneliness or the reality of impending death to truly be receptive to the pure and unadulterated love of an ordinary family pet. Imagine what it would be like to spend endless hours waiting for someone to come see you, wondering what’s happening in the world beyond your door and wishing for something (anything) that could bring respite for just a little while. No, he cannot take your temperature, administer tests or prescribe medication, but he will lie down beside you and rest his head on your weary lap while you experience the glorious sensations of touch, familiarity and healing. He comes with simple and honorable intentions, seeking only to share your time, your space and your troubles. He wears no watch by which to count the minutes, makes no demands on your personal life and forms no judgments on your character. He accepts each willing stranger just as they are, scared and weak and vulnerable. What a therapy dog really does is give his heart in earnest to those in need of comfort, understanding and compassion. Like the splendid love which comes from above, you need only open your own heart to receive it.