Elsa — Therapy

Location: Niceville, Florida

Elsa is a 10-year-old Great Pyrenees rescue dog who I’ve trained to be a therapy dog. I’ve chronicled our work as a therapy dog team in a book published on Amazon called It Took A Dog. We work four days a week. On Mondays we go to the Niceville Children’s Advocacy Center, where she provides a loving and safe welcoming to physically and sexually abused children prior to their seeing a counselor. She was a therapy dog for two sisters in the courtroom when they had to individually testify against their step-father in their sexual abuse trial. On Tuesdays we visit The Manor in Bluewater Bay, a nursing home with 120 residents. On Wednesdays we do R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) at Rocky Bayou Elementary School, where six third-graders read to Elsa for twenty minutes each. On Fridays for two hours we greet passengers at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach airport, the fastest growing airport in the country. Elsa has become a hero to thousands of people in our over 230 (and counting) therapy dog visits. But she is now the biggest hero to my own family since my 36-year-old son Mark was diagnosed with cancer in late January 2019. Throughout his chemotherapy treatments and his current fight for his life, she has bonded with and provided love, support, and hope for Mark, his wife Jenny, and my three grandchildren, Maddie (7), William (5), and Anna (1). I believe Elsa was put on this earth and brought into our lives for just such a time as this.

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