Perhaps the next best thing to getting a puppy as a present this holiday season is the chance to experience a “meet and greet” right here inside the red doors of Browning! Again this year, a group of therapy dogs and their owners-handlers from New York Therapy Animals were guests at a Lower School assembly on December 7. These gentle, friendly canines of varying ages and breeds play a comforting role in the lives of boys, girls, men and women when they and their owners volunteer at schools, libraries and hospitals in the city on a regular basis.
The Browning boys asked numerous questions during the course of this lively program. As a result, they learned that these therapy dogs are petted, read to and just generally loved by everyone they visit, whether it is a person undergoing cancer treatments, a harried hospital nurse, or a shy child who prefers to read aloud to a dog rather than a human. They also learned that the dogs must be trained to understand commands such as “sit” and “come” and that some love to give hugs. One even puts his paw on the pages of what he deems a good book when read to. Their fur and teeth need to be brushed (some prefer poultry-flavored toothpaste!), and they must be protected from eating harmful foods like chocolate, raisins and certain plants.
Once the formal assembly concluded, the boys were given a chance to form circles and meet and pet their “doggie visitors.” As Lucy of the Peanuts gang once declared, “Happiness is a warm puppy!” For more information on these therapy pets and their owners, visit newyorktherapyanimals.org