Piper the Therapy Dog

Piper Holloway was born October 11, 2019, in Rockville, Maryland. I believe she was one of eight pups in the litter. She is a purebred Portuguese Water Dog. “Porties” are known for being eager and athletic companions built for water work. Piper definitely lives up to that description. She loves swimming and playing catch in the water with whoever throws the ball.

I remember driving her back to Salisbury from the breeder’s house. She howled and cried for what seemed like the entire two-and-a-half-hour drive, despite our best efforts to coax her into taking a nap. We got home safely after stopping a couple times for a puppy potty break.

Piper began obedience training at a young age, through the local American Kennel Club “AKC” in Salisbury, Maryland. She passed beginner and intermediate obedience for puppies with flying colors, then went on to earn her Canine Good Citizen “CGC” certification. CGC is a set of skills that every dog should know to be a good member of the community. It teaches good manners to dogs and responsible dog ownership to their owners. It is also one of the prerequisites to move on to most therapy dog training programs.

Therapy dogs are dogs who go with their owners to volunteer in settings such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes, funeral homes, hospice facilities, and libraries. From working with a child who is learning to read to visiting a senior in assisted living, therapy dogs and their owners work together as a team to improve the lives of other people. Therapy dogs are not service dogs, however. Service dogs perform specific tasks to help a person with a disability. Therapy dogs do not have the same special access as service dogs. Piper received her Therapy Dog title through the organization Pets on Wheels of Delmarva and is currently working toward the Novice Level recognition by AKC.

Piper pays frequent visits to Holloway Funeral Home to help families navigating the grieving process. She is there to greet guests at visitations and services, as well as sit in with families during the initial family conference following a death. Research has shown that simply petting a dog lowers blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol. Other studies have found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood. Piper especially enjoys playing with children because they can keep up with her high energy level!

Piper is celebrating her 4th birthday this year. We are so blessed to care for her and truly appreciate the happiness she provides to our family and the individuals she works with in the community.

 

 

By: Britta Holloway

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