Therapist & Labradoodle Team Up to Change Lives
Dr. Maggie Dou is a professional counselor specializing in working with survivors of child abuse, loss and other traumatic incidents. In 2018 she decided to add a canine partner to her counseling practice in San Antonio, TX. She wanted a friendly, accepting dog with whom her clients could connect. Therapy dogs are changing the experience for so many people. Having a therapy dog present during sessions helps individuals open up and feel more comfortable, allowing for more progress.
Her dog, Dorothy, meaning God’s gift, has been changing her clients' lives. They became a certified therapy team in March 2020. They are certified through Alliance of Therapy Dogs. Maggie and Dorothy also volunteer with oncology and hematology pediatric patients and their families.
Maggie told us, “When my daughter was in 4th grade her teacher brought her son’s retired service dog to the classroom. The dog’s name was Dakota, and he was an Australian Labradoodle. He was excellent with all the children which is why I decided to go with that breed. Dorothy is so friendly and enjoys interacting with people. Many of my clients find it difficult to trust people since they have often been mistreated by others. I thought that including a loving dog in my counseling sessions would foster a sense of emotional safety that I could not provide on my own.”
Therapy dog teams are known to reduce stress, anxiety and depression and enhance emotional well-being in many different settings, including schools, libraries, courtrooms, police agencies, veterans’ agencies, homeless shelters, hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities.
Meet Maggie and Dorothy on Instagram @thattherapydoodle