John and Carol Sturz have been training their 5-year-old golden retriever, Rosie, to be a Therapy Dog.
The first step in her training was to pass the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizenship test, a 10-skill test that teaches good manners to dogs and responsible dog ownership to their owners. The next part of her certification will be to make visits to schools, hospitals, nursing homes as well as to Shepherd of the Prairie Church and anywhere she is welcome. So far Rosie has been with us at many local restaurants and at SOTP Saturday night services.
Therapy dogs are not service dogs. Service dogs are dogs that are specially trained to perform specific tasks to help a person who has a disability. An example of a service dog is one that guides an owner who is blind, or a dog who assists someone with a physical disability. Therefore Rosie is not given the same duties and privileges that a service dog has.
Since many people are familiar with the Lutheran Church Charities Comfort dogs, we want to clarify that Rosie is not part of that organization. LCC K9’s places dogs with assigned handlers and the dogs live in homes with assigned caregivers. Rosie will continue to live with us and we will be her handlers. Our plan is to take her for visits to nursing homes, hospitals and other places like libraries, since we have both worked as school and college Librarians. John is also a retired Lutheran pastor.
John and Carol Sturz