Gertrude — Therapy

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Gertie has been doing animal assisted therapy with people who have physical, cognitive and psychiatric disabilities in occupational therapy for over nine years. She is a people person and the epitome of human-animal interactions and bond. When she is with a client, regardless of age or ability, she makes them feel like the most important person in the world. Gertie has mastery skills playing board games by manipulating them with her mouth (such as pulling sticks out of Kerplunk) or paw, which convinces our patients to try it themselves regardless of limitations. She facilitates mindfulness by participating in doga, initiating deep breathing, and can even unroll and roll a yoga mat. She has a keen intuition, impeccable observations and responses to human verbal and non-verbal communication. She has taught children with Autism and adults with post-traumatic stress how to make eye-contact, how to connect, and how to trust. Gertie simply makes people successful regardless of how difficult the goal is. She has sat in the lobby with parents who were in tears from exhaustion of raising kids with multiple disabilities, trained interns and co-facilitates workshops to teach healthcare and human service providers about animal assisted therapy, and demonstrates what health, welfare and well-being should look like for working dogs. When she is not busy in the clinic, Gertie is my rock, my best friend and my family. Her presence has made me a better therapist and a better person.

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