Therapy Dog Program

Azalea Dog Training Club was the first organization in New Hanover County to provide therapy visits to a five county area, to Nursing Homes, Rest Homes, Assisted Living and Treatment Centers, Adult Group Homes, and Special Need Children.

Since the mid ‘70’s, ADTC’s dedicated teams have brought smiles back to the faces of many who have very little to smile about!! For the past several years, ADTC teams have faithfully visited twice a week, every week, area facilities.

Medical professionals have now acknowledged what ADTC’s teams have known all along, that the interaction between our furry friends and people has a healing and comforting effect. Countless studies show the benefits of Pet Therapy visits.

Some examples are:

*Lowering of blood pressure
*Calming personalities and calming effect on all stressed individuals
*Reaching introverted patients suffering from depression
*Unlocking minds of stroke victims, Alzheimer’s patients, and brain injured patients
*Excellent Physical Therapists (many patients will ‘play with a dog’ when they refuse other therapies)

Our Therapy Teams all have heartwarming stories to tell!! A sampling of these stories follow:

Kacee (Havanese) ‘reaching’ a stroke victim who had not spoken for over six months…. When the patient petted Kacee, she said “soft” to the amazement of all her caregivers!

Baron (Doberman) thrilled severely physically handicapped children at a visit. One child with extreme effort moved her hand in order to rub his head. Baron patiently ‘worked’ with this child for over an hour.

Mocha (Labrador Retriever) reaches many male patients as they think back to the ‘old day’ when they were young and went hunting with their favorite dog.

Ginny (Boxer) won over a patient with violent tendencies. Once he got ‘loving’ from Ms Ginny, he begged her to stay!

Logan (Golden Retriever) is “trained” every visit by a resident at a local facility. As the resident ‘trains’, Logan’s owner is standing behind her giving Logan hand signals for the resident’s commands!

ADTC periodically holds classes to enable new teams to join us in the ranks of smile givers!

School and Safety Programs

In 1987, ADTC embraced educating children and adults about dogs, in a five county area, including Camp LeJeune, the Wilmington Police Department, Boy and Girl Scout Troops, Cub Scout Packs and Brownie Troops.

Since 1989, we have held copy write on our own Coloring Book, designed and created by Nancy Parrott and the late Gretchen Bannon. This Coloring Book, on Dog Safety, is distributed to the children we visit.

ADTC purchased and donated a set of tapes produced by the American Kennel Club regarding “all things dog”, to the Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender Counties’ Libraries and each county’s Board of Education Instructional Supplies and Textbooks, and to UNCW School of Education (Elementary level) Department. These tapes include dog care, in age related format how dogs aid mankind, incorporate Math, Composition and Literature for teachers’ use. As an example; Camp LeJeune Elementary School collects cans of dog food for the Base Animal Control and before sending their donation to the facility, they use the cans for counting, weighing and other math problems. The children also write an essay on their favorite breed of dog and must read and make a book report at least one book that is dog related in preparation for ADTC’s visit.

A typical visit varies from 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the age of the children. The demos are geared to the age of the kids. School representatives get release forms signed so that the students can have ‘hands on’ interaction with the dogs.

Many aspects of dogs and their relationships with man are covered, including the following:

*Care of dogs
*Breeds/History/Geography of dogs
*The ways dogs help man
*Human’s proper behavior around dogs
*How to survive a dog attack
*Petting sessions

ADTC is proud to have hosted the Wilmington Police Department’s Summer Day Camp for the last several years. On three separate days, the participants are brought to ADTC’s facility by the Police Counselors for a fun-filled instructive morning.


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