This past week LazyPaw Animal Hospitals’ was thrilled to assist local Girl Scout Troop 6797 in achieving their animal helper badge. Our Veterinary Care Team is committed to hosting free learning events for school and service groups because we want to be the best small business and local community member. One of the ways we do this is by supporting our Frisco neighbors and at-large DFW community through participation in regular outreach programs.
The requirements for the Animal Helpers badge are as follows:
- Explore the connection between humans and animals
- Find out how animals help keep people safe
- Know how animals help people emotionally
- Check out how animals help people with disabilities
- Look at how animals might help us in the future.
As you can imagine working through the elements of this badge resulted in a lively discussion on the wondrous about ways animals assist their human companions and how different animal species’ particular traits might be developed in the future to keep people safe, help those with physical and emotional disabilities, and play even greater assistance roles to people.
Many of the participants were already familiar with the concept of service dogs so we discussed a local service dog group’s mission. Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) was created “To enhance the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships… at no charge for a Canine Companions assistance dog. Individual participants in our program are not responsible for any of the substantial costs involved in the lengthy process of breeding, raising, and training each Canine Companions assistance dog.” Anyone with “physical or developmental disabilities who can demonstrate that a Canine Companions assistance dog will enhance their independence or their quality of life are qualified to apply. Also eligible are professionals working for organizations that provide physical or mental health care to clients who will benefit from interaction with a facility dog.”
We also discussed hippotherapy, a relatively new therapy tool which started back in the 1960’s when human physicians and physical therapists recognized the potential benefits of riding, i.e., the unique movements of a horse, to patients requiring occupational and physical therapy as well as speech language treatment because of the tremendous sensory input gained by the rider.
Finally, we discussed less traditional human helper animal species. For example, one of the amazing animals which help humans today are more widely regarded as vermin to be exterminated as a way of safeguarding human and livestock food supplies but also as a means of reducing and controlling disease spread. However, we learned in the course of our discussion about the incredible ability of one specific rodent species which not only helps humans but also saves lives! Not convinced? In fact the remarkable African giant pouched rat is able to employ its impeccable sense of smell to identify TNT containing land mines. A fully trained rat can safely and reliably search a 2,000 square foot area in roughly 20 minutes which would take the average person using a metal detector over four days!!! This amazing creature has helped humans find over 13,200 mines in Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola and Cambodia over the past 20 years.
At the end of our discussion of the Animal Helper Badge Troop 6797 members received a tour of the clinic, practiced their animal handling skills with Dr. Hunter’s dog, KatyDid, and choose Angel Tree ornaments supporting our mission of service to animal rescue pets in need.
If you are interested in one of our educational programs or earning the Girl Scouts Animal Helper Badge, please call our office at 972-712-1300 or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org today!