Marni was born in November of the year 2000 — my “Millennium Baby”. We were introduced to Ottawa Therapy Dogs by a neighbour who had been involved for a number of years with her dog. She commented that Marni had the temperament suited to therapy work. However, what convinced me to take up therapy dog work was that it provides an opportunity to do volunteer work with my dog, instead of having to leave her at home.
Since qualifying as an OTD therapy team, we have had a varied experience, working first as a facility visiting team and then later with the R.E.A.D.® Program. Marni and I started our therapy work by visiting at a long-term care facility and the Oncology wing of the Ottawa Hospital’s General Campus.
In 2005, we qualified to join the Reading Education Assistance Dog (R.E.A.D.®) Program. First we worked with a Grade 1 / 2 student in the Ottawa-Carleton Catholic School Board who had reading difficulties. Now Marni and I are working with high school students. This is a unique situation — a first for R.E.A.D.® in Ottawa.
Currently we are seeing four developmentally delayed students with varied levels of reading ability. The students really look forward to Marni’s visit — they are waiting at the door for her arrival and enjoy taking their turn helping me walk her back to the car when our session is over.
It’s now 2010 and my Millennium Baby will be 10 year’s old. We plan on continuing as a therapy team for as long as it is still fun for Marni.