Comfort Dogs

Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 11:06 a.m.
Comfort Dogs

In the aftermath of recent tragedies, specially trained dogs have been sent to provide comfort. Diane and her guests discuss why canines are uniquely suited for the job.

Service and therapy dogs perform lifesaving jobs every day. They sniff out bombs, find people buried in avalanches and guide blind people across the street. Now another type of work is aiding humans. Comfort dogs come to the emotional rescue of people suffering in the aftermath of disasters or battling the difficulties of daily life. Their job has taken them to Newtown, Conn., Boston and West, Texas. A panel of experts joins Diane to talk about the differences between service dogs and therapy dogs, companion dogs, assistance dogs and all other working dogs. They discuss how to determine the best dog for a job, how they are trained and the benefits for both the human and canine species.

Guests

Brian Hare

professor of evolutionary anthropology, director of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, co-author of "The Genius of Dogs" and co-founder of Dognition.

Amy McCullough

director of animal-assisted therapy at the American Humane Association.

Paul Mundell

national director of canine programs at Canine Companions for Independence.

Photos: From Newtown To Boston, Therapy Dogs Provide Comfort

Groups like Canine Companions for Independence and the American Humane Association's animal-assisted therapy teams brought comfort and healing to the streets of Boston after last month's twin bombing. Comfort dogs also helped Newtown, Conn., residents cope after a mass shooting in December 2012. Today, in addition to responding to national events and comforting hospital patients, these organizations help returning veterans and their military families cope with the impacts of service.

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