“Ok Sandy, this is it! This is what we’ve been waiting for!”
This was the moment my pomeranian Sandy and I had trained for for weeks and weeks. We were about to participate in our first pet therapy visit to the New Jewish Home in Manhattan. Though Sandy wasn’t nervous, I sure was. What if, after all the time we spent working with the Good Dog Foundation, something went wrong? We would be devastated.
Fortunately, the visit went off without a hitch. Sandy was absolutely wonderful, and the residents of the New Jewish Home were smitten with her. I have never been so proud of my sweet panda bear (our ‘pet name’ for Miss Sandy. Doesn’t she look like a red panda?) and I was thankful for the opportunity to share her sweetness with so many lovely people.
I have always been a huge lover of animals, especially dogs. I grew up with at least three dogs (and a rabbit) and loved every minute of my pet-filled childhood. I truly believe in the healing powers of animals, and have wanted to be a part of a pet therapy program for a long time. It takes a special dog to be able to train and participate in a pet therapy program. When my husband, Nathan, and I adopted Sandy from Bideawee in Manhattan, we knew that we had found that special dog. Sandy makes everyone around her smile. She’s filled with love and shares that love willingly and profoundly. We make friends on every walk, every subway ride, and every adventure we go on. I knew that she would be a great therapy dog, so the next step was to find a program that would correspond with my hectic (and often unpredictable!) work schedule. I did a bunch of research online and discovered the Good Dog Foundation. They offer a five week training program in various locations around New York City. The first step is to bring your dog in for an evaluation to make sure that she, and you, have the right temperament. The next step is to choose a corresponding five week course, where you and your dog are taught how to provide a fun and safe therapeutic visit to the facility of your choice. Once you have graduated from the training course, you are free to schedule therapy visits.
Along with my work through the Good Dog Foundation, Nathan and I have fostered dogs through Rescue City and adopted other dogs through Bideawee. Currently, we have three dogs: Sandy, our sweet panda bear; Mojo, a senior papillon/pomeranian mix; and Sally, a feisty senior pomeranian. (Yes, we are the maniacs with three dogs in New York City.) But I have to say, I would have it no other way. Sandy, Mojo, and Sally bring us so much joy and love everyday, and we give it back to them in return. Sharing our home and lives with them are the best decisions we’ve made. There are so many animals in need of a home, and we are so happy to help that process in any way.
If you are interested in pet therapy, fostering, or animal adoption, check out these links:
The Good Dog Foundation: http://thegooddogfoundation.org/overview/
Rescue City: https://www.rescuecity.nyc/
Liz Brooks Wentworth is originally from Dallas, TX, and joined the Metropolitan Opera Chorus in 2013.
She received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of North Carolina Greensboro and her Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music. Ms. Brooks has performed with many wonderful opera companies including Opera Colorado, Des Moines Metro Opera, Utah Festival Opera, and Baltimore Concert Opera. In her spare time, you can find her volunteering with her adorable brood of animals, spending time with her husband, Nathan, or sweating it out at Pure Barre!