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Canine Therapy

 

Canine Therapy

Canine Therapy Programme (Formerly known as Dr. Dog Programme) is a project initiated by CUPA in Bangalore where animals are used in communities like mentally Challenged Children, Autistic children, Old Age Homes, Hospitals, AIDS Patients and terminally ill cancer patients as a source of joy and happiness besides therapeutic and stress treatment.
Canine Therapy and the value of animal therapy:
Professional studies show that being in close contact with animals can have remarkable benefits on the physical and psychological well being of people. Scientists believe that closeness with animals can have a natural healing effect on many medical conditions and statistics show that the average blood pressure and cholesterol level of patients owning pets are lower than those who don’t. Surveys show that when patients are able to give their attention to an animal they are able to forget their own suffering for a while. Simply, being in close contact with an animal makes you feel good!
 Joining the Canine Therapy Programme:
Dog owners could volunteer dogs of pedigree or mixed breed. The animal naturally needs to be healthy and have a happy, placid nature. Each dog will need to be examined and accepted by a CUPA representative.

Evaluation of health and emotional stability of the animal is judged and certified. A full assessment is also made by a Veterinary Surgeon who will offer a certificate if the dog passes. Following the interview, the successful volunteers are issued an authorized ID card; which must be worn on every visit.

Canine Therapy Programme requests that volunteers accompany their own dogs at all times and take part in the various activities offered by the hospitals and centers. Each volunteer is assigned to one center, so that a rapport can be developed between the patients, dog and nursing staff. Visits are usually on a monthly, fortnightly or weekly basis, normally lasting for one hour, depending on the number, age and condition of the patients.

Persons with or without a pet who wish to volunteer in the Canine Therapy Programme are welcome to do so.



JENNY : CUPA's first Dr. Dog

Remembering Jenny.

It is more than three years since we lost Jenny our first Therapy Dog. She touched so many lives, of   children of  the lesser God.
I used to accompany her to one such special school “Asha” For Autistic Children. Jenny our Dr Dog was always cheerful, and brought smiles to the face of less fortunate kids. Working with the Autistic kids requires special skills and training even for us. But Jenny had these traits in her without training, She was so pleasant and patient with these children Some times Autistic children can get aggressive and violent ,On one such occasion a child pulled Jenny’s tail and  slapped her . But I was taken aback by Jenny Reaction. She was composed and sweet as ever, wagging her tail.

Jenny was very popular with children. For some reason they seemed to love her, and until you saw her with them, you would never understand why. Every afternoon the children in my building would come home, and beg us to let jenny come down and play with them, and play with them she did. They would play running and catching for hours, and jenny was great at hide’n’ seek . After playing, my lazy dog would lie in the centre of the playground and let herself be fussed over by the children and this continued until I went down to fetch her back. She was a real delight, a really special dog, with a huge reserve of patience and love.

She was also the dog mascot for CUPA in a lot of ways. She was always at the protest marches, always the dog thrown into new cages, to demonstrate how they worked or lassoed with the new dog catching sticks when they arrived (much to her unhappiness). But the poor thing, she never ever complained or whined or snapped, what she did do was look extremely sad with a drooping face and teary eyes. 



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Jenny
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At CUPA , Canine Therapy is an integral part of the animal welfare work. CUPA dog, Charlie, works with two organizations which look after mentally challenged and autistic children. These are Vishwas – Air Force School for special children and Shrishti Special Academy. Each session lasts for 20-30 minutes in which the dog interacts with the children, plays with them, and allows them to touch, caress and play with him. The children are given information about the dog. Each session shows a marked increase in verbal communication, involvement in the animal and surroundings and cooperation with the teachers and care givers.

Charlie is a very popular therapist and his interaction with the autistic children of Shishti Special Academy is a treat to watch! Charlie loves children and his attitude towards these special children is unbelievable. He settles himself very comfortably in their midst and allows each one of them to touch him, stroke him, fondle his ears, pull his tail and at the end even rewards them with a slobbery kiss! The children have learnt to pronounce his name, speak to him and offer him biscuits and water. Each session is documented very carefully and the progress in each child's case noted.


Charlie is a wonderful ambassador from the canine world, teaching humans the value of tolerance, love and goodwill towards other species.
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The use of animals as an alternative method of healing dates back as far as 18th century. Historically animals were used by the early Greeks for curing ill or mentally depressed patients. In 1953 , the first documentation of the success of animals as an additional method of healing was done. Today , Canine Therapy as it is popularly called , is used all over the world and is widely accepted.
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Charlie is the most popular therapist and his interaction with the autistic children of Shishti Special Academy is a treat to watch ! Charlie loves children and his attitude towards these special children is unbelievable. He settles himself very comfortably in their midst and allows each one of them to touch him, stroke him, fondle his ears, pull his tail and at the end even rewards them with a slobbery kis! The children have learnt to pronounce his name , speak to him and offer him biscuits and water. Each session is documented very carefully and the progress in each child's case noted.

Charlie and Pinto are wonderful ambassadors from the canine world, teaching humans the value of tolerance, love and goodwill towards other species.

The Canine Therapy Programme is currently active in a few institutions and this is what they had to say:

“22 Aug; 2002 was an exciting day for all the children at “ASHA”. We had three special visitors - Jenny, a beautiful Labrador and “Snow” & “Icey”, two white mice. Many of the children were excited and handled the animals well.”
Mrs. Jayashree Ramesh, Director
Academy for Severe Handicaps and Autism.

“....our heartfelt thanks for bringing pets to play with our special children who are mentally challenged with associative handicaps. The children thoroughly enjoyed being with them.”
Mrs. Meena K. Jain, Founder/Technical Director,
Shristi Special Academy, Bangalore.