Have you been lucky enough to meet Clover, Valley’s amazing volunteer dalmatian therapy dog and her human Terry in the waiting room? Clover is more than just an adorable pup—she can help your children become more confident in their communication and sensory needs!
Here are some ways Clover (and other friendly therapy dogs) can help your child grow. If you would like Clover to join your child in a therapy session, let your therapist know and we will try to schedule it!
- Before you or your child tries to pet Clover, ask the dog’s handler if it is ok. Depending on ability, this can be as simple as pointing at Clover and waiting for permission, saying “Touch?” Or use a whole sentence such as, “Excuse me, may I pet the dog?”
- Practice identifying parts of the whole. Name as many parts of Clover such as tail, legs, eyes and spots. See how many different parts you can find!
- Count Clover’s spots.
- Try to find out five things about Clover and then share what you’ve learned with your therapist or the front desk staff if they’re available.
- Use Clover to understand why it is important to keep a calm body and understand why it isn’t safe to throw items, run around without looking, or hit things.
For more on how to interact with therapy dogs and other working dogs, check out this blog article.
By Barbara Bryant, CCC-SLP
Pictured: Clover and her human, Terry