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I would like to share a few words of praise and appreciation for Space Coast Therapy Dogs. I’ve been blessed to have them visit the Residents at Solaris HealthCare Merritt Island for many years. Our Residents love the visits from these beautiful fur babies and love the heartfelt interactions their humans have with the Residents. The handlers connect with the Residents and it truly means so much. The handlers go above and beyond what is expected and the Residents are so appreciative and are always looking forward to the next visit. Because of Covid we haven’t been able to have these visits for awhile… but that doesn’t stop the Residents from continually asking about their cherished furry friends and when they can see them again. This truly has been one of the BEST community groups I have had the pleasure of working with and hopefully will be blessed for years to come as we continue our partnership.
Grateful & Blessed to know and work with all the beautiful dogs & handlers of Space Coast Therapy Dogs
– Robin Heron
“Promise in Brevard is an apartment complex exclusively for adults with varying disabilities. Promise opened its first building in the Fall of 2017. The residents that live there are anywhere from age 20 to age 62 and they represent a large variety of different types of disabilities. Most of the residents lived in their family’s home before moving to Promise. Often individuals with disabilities don’t have a busy social life and some live pretty solitary lives.
We became aware after the residents moved in that many had to leave their pets behind. Often their pets were the only companionship they had. I saw that some of the residents were really sad and were missing their dogs.
We became aware of Space Coast Therapy dogs and gave them a call. From the first phone call, they were so excited to set up visits with the residents and it wasn’t long before they were coming on a regular basis. There were always a steady group of residents that couldn’t wait to see the dogs come! I would see the residents lying on the ground to get as close to the dogs as they could. They would have dogs on their laps and all had huge smiles! Residents that never left their apartments, would come down to see the dogs. We saw individuals open up and smile and laugh as they enjoyed their time with staff and the dogs. It brought tears to my eyes more than once to see the joy on their faces.
The volunteers from SCTD were always so kind. They were very flexible. They would even go into a resident’s apartment if the resident couldn’t come down. One of the residents who loved the dogs became terminally ill. He was hospitalized and it became obvious he would not be coming back to Promise. I contacted Space Coast Therapy Dogs and asked if there was any way they could take a dog to visit him. They were immediately onboard and agreed to help.
When COVID19 started we were unable to let visitors in and the residents really missed their interactions with the dogs. Volunteers at Space Coast Therapy dogs made posters using pictures of the residents with the dogs and sent them to us. What a surprise! The residents were so happy to see the dogs- even in pictures!
They are a wonderful group of very caring people. They have gone out of their way to share the love and companionship their dogs offer with people who really need that interaction. It didn’t matter that our residents had disabilities. They never hesitated. And they went over and above our expectations! Hopefully, COVID will disappear and they can come back to Promise. I know the residents can’t wait!”
– Pat Rush
Since 1992, the mission of Space Coast Therapy Dogs has been to lift spirits, remove anxiety, provide companionship and eliminate loneliness and despair with incredible volunteers and their companion dogs. We are a local organization based in Brevard County Florida comprised of certified therapy dog teams. We bring comfort to those in need, to touch and connect, and assist in schools and libraries to kids of all ages with reading programs. We provide “special dogs for special people” therapeutic contacts in hospitals, libraries, nursing homes, long-care facilities, schools, courtrooms and, other facilities throughout the county. We provide care and comfort to those in need. Though we are a local organization, our dogs are tested and certified at the national level by the Alliance of Therapy Dogs organization. We operate under specific requirements and guidance long established by ATD. Once a team is tested by an ATD tester/observer, they may then join Space Coast Therapy Dogs and serve with other local volunteers throughout the county.
We have many different breeds of well-mannered and well behaved dogs that love meeting people. The dogs are tested and certified by a representative (tester-observer) of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs organization. The tester observer will identify an overly excited dog that would not fit as a therapy dog, or a calm and loving dog suitable for the purpose of becoming a therapy dog. They should not react around other dogs or people. They will be under control and obedient to the handler’s commands. A constantly barking dog will not pass the certification testing required of a therapy dog. Although obedience training is not required by ATD, the temperament of a dog may be enhanced with additional training when necessary. Our dogs are clean, groomed and verified healthy by veterinary requirements. All dogs must have up to date vaccines and have a negative fecal exam within the last year. Any dog may join SCTD except wolf or coyote mixes.
All testing for therapy dog certification is performed by the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. This is the national organization responsible for ensuring a consistent approach to approving dogs for therapy work. Their tester-observers (T/O) will initially focus on the relationship between the handlers and the dog making sure there is a good relationship. Once the handling testing is complete and the dog responds properly to commands, the T/O will monitor you and your dog for three facility visits. During these visits, you and your dog will be observed for proper behavior and with interactions between the dog and clients. If all goes well during these visits, the T/O will pass you and your dog. Once the testing process is completed, joining SCTD is simply a matter of completing an application. SCTD does not require any additional testing. We do require compliance to the SCTD bylaws and guidelines. All dogs will be covered with insurance by ATD in case of any unintended incidents during therapy visits.
Our teams provide therapy visits in many different facilities throughout Brevard County including nursing homes, long term care facilities, rehab’s, hospitals, schools and libraries. We have several read to children programs in local libraries. SCTD utilizes a monthly calendar of visits to give members an option where and when to visit. We have teams that support Courtroom Companions where our dogs support children during stressful depositions. At local community special events during the year, our dogs are always ready to share some love and joy to the community.
We are a group of caring volunteers and certified therapy dogs serving the needs of the community in various facilities throughout the Space Coast. Members must be over the age of 18 though we have conditions whereby junior handlers may make visits while accompanied by a certified handler. You and your dog must be initially tested and certified by the Alliance of Therapy Dogs (www.therapydogs.com), the national organization that provides a consistent approach to certifying therapy dogs. Then with guidance of our wonderful volunteer team members, you may serve many facilities in the Brevard County area. We provide our own transportation to and from the various facilities. Our members act under the guidance and requirements of ATD just like the dogs that we care for. During visits to specific facilities, the team members must act appropriately in the presence of the clients. All members must undergo background checks as required by ATD in order to become certified. Once the team, comprised of the handler and their dog, become certified, they are welcome to join SCTD and serve the community in which they live.