Buddy — Therapy
Buddy started off life as a guide dog in training from Southeastern Guide Dogs. After letting us know that he was not interested in a life of full-time service/guide work, he was career changed just before his first birthday, two weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic. In June 2020, Buddy completed his therapy dog testing with Alliance of Therapy Dogs and has since logged over 50 hours in the last 7 months of providing weekly therapy visits with groups and individuals at a state-run forensic psychiatric hospital. He has provided love, unconditional positive regard, acceptance, and support to an already marginalized population during a time when they are further restricted from engaging in their community. He has aided them in goal setting, improving their hygiene/overall health and wellness, learning how to engage in healthy leisure activities, and just been a source of physical and emotional support during the height of the pandemic. He has also come to be a source of support for our coworkers, who often stop by for a hug, a handshake, or a listening ear during days when our work is stressful and overwhelming. Buddy was also voted one of South Magazine’s Greatest Pets during the Fall of 2020 for his therapy service and showing all the good a career changed guide/service dog in training can provide for his community! He is a wonderful ambassador to his breed, Southeastern Guide Dogs, and Alliance of Therapy Dogs.