Therapy Dog Aspen: Staff Spotlight
Aspen is a 9 year old Therapy, Bernese Mountain Dog. The Bernese Mountain Dog is one of four breeds of Sennenhund-type dogs from the Swiss Alps. The Bernese were bred as all around farm dogs that provided companionship to the farm families, assisted in herding livestock, and pulled carts to market loaded with milk, cheese, and other dairy products. The Bernese is a loyal, gentle, good natured dog that was trusted to work alongside farmers and to pull some of their most precious commodities. Their large stature that allows them to pull heavy carts also makes them great for cuddling up to!
Aspen is a gentle giant with a keen intuition, which made her naturally suited to step into a therapy dog role. Aspen has participated in therapy work over the past 8 years in a variety of settings. Throughout her career, Aspen has played an integral role in relationship development, sensing emotions and nonverbal cues, and helping clients calm down in times of distress.
Research has found that interactions between people and therapy dogs have a long list of therapeutic benefits. Interaction with therapy dogs has been shown to decrease blood pressure and slow breathing rates. It has also been shown to relieve anxiety and increase attachment responses. The human-animal connection can have a profound impact on the therapeutic process and on overall emotional wellbeing, and it is remarkable to see this in action facilitating healing and recovery!
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