Fort Wayne is a pretty great place to live, thanks in no small part to the residents. At Dupont Veterinary Clinic we are extremely fortunate to get to know so many incredible local families and their pets, such as Anne and Chris Bohlman and their dogs, Bessie, Dana, and MiniMoo.
The Bohlmans, along with their three trained therapy dogs, have been volunteering their time and energy in our community for the past 14 years. We’re thrilled to share the Bohlman’s story with our readers, and to highlight the ways in which therapy dogs enrich human lives and bring communities together.
Therapy Dogs 101
Therapy dogs are those that have been trained to provide affection and companionship to people in need in a variety of settings, such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. Therapy dogs can be any breed, size, or age – the only requirements are a calm demeanor and friendly personality. They must undergo general and special training, be able to block out distractions, be comfortable around a wide variety of people, and function comfortably in institutional settings.
Because they aren’t trained to perform specific functions for people with disabilities, therapy dogs are not considered service dogs. Therapy dogs are recognized, but are not afforded the same protections as service dogs under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Like so many of our clients, Anne and Chris Bohlman are dog lovers with big hearts. Anne had always wanted to volunteer with a therapy dog and began doing so 14 years ago. Today she and Chris are the proud “pet parents” to three Great Danes – Bessie, Dana, and MiniMoo – all trained and certified as therapy dogs.
The Bohlman’s and their dogs volunteer 5-6 times a week for a variety of organizations throughout the community. The dogs spend time with people of all ages, helping to relieve stress, soothe emotional pain, and brighten the day for those in need. Chris and Anne also give presentations on therapy dogs.
A typical day might find them in any of the following places:
- Fort Wayne International Airport
- Survivors of Suicide
- Erin’s House
- Parkview Hospice Patients
- St. Francis, Indiana Tech, IPFW – Final Exam Week and special occasions
- Special Ed Programs
- Library – Paws to Read Program
Whether they’re cuddling with children, giving stressed out college kids a break, or befriending sick patients, there’s no question that the work done by the Bohlman team is absolutely essential. After all, dogs make the world a better place!
If you would like more information about therapy dogs, please don’t hesitate to contact your partners in pet care at Dupont Veterinary Clinic.