Social | Executive Functioning | Behavior | Speech-Language
About Finley Bear
Name: Finley Bear
Born: Aptos, California
D.O.B: February 22, 2016
Breed: Australian Labradoodle mini
Weight: 44 pounds
Temperament: Gentle, anxious, intelligent, obedient,
Interests: Playing fetch with a ball.
Diet: Ground turkey, green beans, and peas, vitamins to supplement..shhh...
Rachel Rays Turkey Burgers made for dogs.
Skills: Sit/lay when told, pee/poo on command, give the ball in your hands, leg shakes greeting when asked.
Challenges: Needs to be able to see a familiar person at all times, picky eater.
Job: Trained Therapy Dog
Other facts: A Labradoodle is a mixed breed of a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle. Being a Labradoodle, Finley does not have dog fur; he has dog hair that does not shed (fall out). He is known as a hypoallergenic dog breed. It means that those who are allergic to dog fur will likely not be allergic to Finley Bear's hair which is similar to human hair. Finley Bear has been trained as both a service animal and a therapy dog. A service animal has specific training individualized for their handler.
Finley has completed basic, intermediate, and specialized obedience training, and pet therapy classes. He is current on all the recommended vaccines including the rabies shot. He is groomed every three weeks (being bathed, nails clipped and filed, teeth and hair brushed, etc).
What does a therapy dog do?
Finley provides Animal Assisted Intervention (AAT) to patients of all ages. Substantial research supports the use of dogs in treatment to reduce patient stress, decrease feelings of isolation/loneliness, calm patients in challenging situations, provide emotional support, be a playmate for motivation and positive reinforcement, increase focus, increase a person's empathy, support positive self-perception, increase a patient's sense of physical and emotional safety, teach socialization in a non-threatening way, and can improve the therapist's relationship with a student.
Therapy dogs can be good listeners, enabling patients to be more receptive to communications and social advances from peers, and increase social behaviors such as increasing appropriate eye gaze and positive feelings of happiness, smiling, and laughing.
Therapy dogs can also be used within speech and language activities as participants who often distract the patient from feeling pressured to respond. Younger patients enjoy reading to Finely and being Finley's teacher by commanding him to act out basic directions. Finley Bear also helps systematically desensitize children who are afraid to go near or share space with a dog.