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                Bree,Tyler, & Maxwell Smart
                   Volunteer Therapy Dogs


Therapy Dogs Bree and Tyler, unrelated Golden Retrievers, played an indispensable role in our shelter program, offering vital comfort and companionship to those grappling with homelessness. Unfortunately, Bree passed away after courageously battling cancer. In her place, Maxwell Smart, a Newfoundland/Golden Retriever mix, has joined the team.

Family Promise of Warren County staff, dedicated to supporting individuals, families, and children, witnessed Bree and Tyler's ability to provide a profound and comforting distraction. The unique bond forged between therapy dogs and humans has demonstrated tangible benefits, including cardiovascular health improvements and stress level reductions.

Emphasizing the distinction between therapy dogs and service dogs is crucial. Bree and Tyler, as certified therapy dogs, delivered comfort without the specific services provided by service dogs. While service dogs undergo specialized training and enjoy legal rights, therapy dogs play an invaluable role for applicants facing the traumatic experience of homelessness.

Max follows in Bree's compassionate footsteps, warmly greeting applicants for homelessness prevention, diversion, and re-housing services. All rescued from homelessness, Bree, Tyler, and Maxwell Smart epitomize their role at Family Promise of Warren County by providing unparalleled comfort, instilling confidence, and offering crucial companionship to those in need.

Here are some of the positive impacts that therapy dogs can have on trauma victims:

  • Emotional Support: Therapy dogs provide unconditional love, comfort, and companionship, offering emotional support for traumatized individuals.

  • Reduced Anxiety and Stress: Interacting with therapy dogs has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress levels. The calming presence of a dog can help regulate emotions and create a sense of safety.

  • Improved Mood: Petting and spending time with therapy dogs release endorphins, known as "feel-good" hormones. This can lead to an overall improvement in mood for trauma victims.

  • Enhanced Relaxation: The physical presence of therapy dogs often leads to decreased physiological indicators of stress, such as lowered heart rate and blood pressure, promoting a state of relaxation.

  • Distraction from Traumatic Thoughts: Therapy dogs serve as a positive distraction, diverting attention away from intrusive or distressing thoughts associated with trauma.

  • Increased Social Interaction: Interacting with therapy dogs can facilitate social interactions, encouraging individuals who may be withdrawn or isolated due to trauma to engage more with others.

  • Encouragement of Physical Activity: Taking therapy dogs for walks or engaging in playful activities encourages physical movement, promoting a healthier lifestyle and contributing to overall well-being.

  • Enhanced Communication: For individuals who may find it challenging to express their emotions verbally, non verbal communication with therapy dogs can serve as a bridge, making it easier to connect with others.

  • Sense of Security: The presence of a therapy dog can provide a sense of security and comfort, particularly for those who have experienced trauma-related fears and insecurities.

  • Promotion of Trust and Empathy: Building a connection with a therapy dog can foster trust and empathy, essential elements in trauma victims' healing process.

Mollie, our first therapy dog
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