Do you wish you could share the joy your dog brings to you with others?

Both Redding and Chico have growing opportunities to certify and work as a therapy dog team. You and your dog can be trained, equipped, and insured by an organization specializing in therapy dogs. Dogs for this work must be very stable, almost fearless, and stranger-friendly. CGC or equivalent temperament testing is usually required, as well as training to accustom the dog to crowds of people, wheelchairs, crutches, hugs, loud noises, stairs, and elevators.

Working therapy dogs are not medical service or emotional support dogs. A therapy dog's "work" is to remain unflappable in unusual environments and be friendly and affectionate to whatever clients need the comfort of a friendly animal. Therapy dog teams may visit convalescent and nursing homes or participate in reading programs at schools and libraries. At refuge houses or counseling, they can provide a soothing presence and a friendly ear to victims of violence or emotional turmoil.

Next month in Chico, Sarah Richardson's Canine Connection will be holding classes for certification in the organization Pet Partners. In Redding, Marty Strausbaugh of Pawsitive Training Center will be preparing teams for certification in the Independent Therapy Dogs organization.