Occasionally we like to visit schools and retirement homes. We've been invited to come out once a month to Talmadge Terrace Retirement Center. Beau (a certified therapy dog), Jersey and Heidi made the trip this week. As you can see from the pics they all three love it. Heidi is great because she fits perfectly in the residents' laps which they love. She can get antsy when I walk too far away, but she soon settles down and enjoys the lovin. Beau is a big ham. He especially likes it when one person is petting his head and another his back. The residents love seeing such a big friendly dog and love hearing the story of him surviving cancer. Jersey, being just a pup, still does amazing. However, she gets tired quickly and every trip after about 30 minutes passes out on the floor. She has learned to "front feet" which means to put her front feet on something on someone. This gets her closer for the petting.
If you are interested in your pet being able to do this, you first step is basic obedience. Your dog has to be able to be under your control at all times. Also, you need to socialize him/her to as many different environments and things (crutches, wheelchairs, etc.) as possible. The more places you can take your dog the better. This makes going new places commonplace and they can be calm and still even if they've never been there.