Therapy dogs are trained to provide affection and comfort to patients. They fulfill an emotional void that is often drained by addiction or mental health disorders. Therapy dogs can be found in many breeds and sizes; however, Golden Retrievers are often used due to their calm demeanor and patient disposition.
Research shows that interaction with therapy dogs increases the release of bonding and happiness hormones and decreases stress. Cindy Goss expresses her confidence in the benefits of the therapy dog program, “Dogs are so non-judgmental and love us regardless of our background [and] previous mistakes.”
Horizon’s adoption of a therapy dog program continues to improve and enhance practices, maintaining Horizon’s high quality treatment and recovery programs.
Horizon’s therapy dogs are Golden Retrievers named Hope, Dakota, Oxford and Cooper. They were bred by Colleen Babcock and born on June 30, 2013. Hope visits many different outpatient clinics and Dakota enjoys her “work day” at the Horizon Village Campus. Oxford can be seen at Terrace House and Cooper spends time at our Niagara Falls location.
The program was started by two incredibly dedicated mothers who support Horizon Village and the WNY community. They have a therapy dog program which they created themselves and began bringing the dogs to visit the Village residents. These women have made it their routine to bring their therapy dogs to Horizon Village twice a month to work with residents. Since the dogs had elicited an overwhelming response, Horizon Village along with their outpatient clinics, decided to invest in two therapy dogs. For more information on Horizon Health Services Therapy Dogs click this link. For general information about the services that Horizon provides, check out their website.
Guarding Hearts Therapy dog Program was created to provide love,
affection and comfort to people and children in hospitals, retirement
homes, residential addiction treatment centers, libraries, mental health
agencies, Hospice, schools, reading programs for children, Military
Outreach Centers and for disaster response.
Over the years health care professionals have noticed the therapeutic
effects of animal companionship, such as relieving stress, lowering blood
pressure, and raising spirits. We see first-hand the happiness of just
creating a smile to one who has nothing to smile for. Or make that one
person who does not feel he/she is loved by anyone.....feel loved.
This indeed makes all our efforts count while "guarding the hearts" of
those who may have been emotionally or physically hurt, those battling an
addiction, those who may have been bullied in school, those who served
in the military sacrificing their lives for us, yet to return to no support,
and suffering from anxiety disorders such as TBI and PTSD.
We are completely a volunteer organization made of compassionate
people and the canines with big hearts, offering their time and efforts to
those in need. Anyone requesting one of our teams to visit, please
contact us through our contact us page.
Please note that all requests are subject to approval and availability. We
would love to respond to all request. However, we have to assure that we
do not subject our Teams to circumstances that could cause emotional
or physical harm. For more information on Guarding Hearts Therapy Dog Program click this link.
Cindy Goss & Colleen Babcock
As part of the SPCA's PAWS FOR LOVE program, run completely by volunteers, pet owners bring their gentle dogs, cats, and smaller pets like rabbits to more than 100 area nursing homes, assisted living facilities, group homes, Hospice locations, children's facilities, Buffalo/Niagara International Airport, even stress-reducing events at colleges.
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