RENO, Nev (KOLO) - When Wishbone and Rocky enter the building, you'd think a rock star just arrived. Patients and staff alike talk to the dogs, shake a paw, and pat a head.
The two dogs are part of the Veterans Hospital dog therapy program in Reno. They are two of a 12-canine crew that visits patients and visitors at the hospital on a daily basis.
David Dolbow has been visiting the hospital for wound care. He says he enjoys his dose of dog therapy whenever he can get.
“Yea. He's friendly and who can't do with some unconditional love?” asks Dolbow.
The dogs have undergone obedience and socialization classes, as well as earned their certifications. Such dogs have heart pendants to show they are the real deal.
Bill Long, who has brought Rocky to this level with classes and daily training, says it doesn't matter the size, breed, or color; it's about temperament.
“Some of them are a little scared; some of them are more prey-driven. A stable dog just loves people, loves being in public, loves the interaction within the dog therapy work,” says Long.
You may wonder how long a dog can continue to do therapy work. If he or she enjoys it and can physically do the job—the answer is a lifetime.