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First Ever Therapy Dog Camp

The first camp ever devoted to Animal Assisted Therapy ' a weekend of workshops, presentations, training sessions, and special events for dogs and handlers -- will be held October 19 ' 21 in Valley Cottage, NY on the campus of The Tolstoy Foundation. The camp is being conducted by the Hudson Valley Humane Society Visiting Pet Program.

The goal of the weekend is to improve the dog/handler bond and make every aspect of pet therapy safer, more effective, and more rewarding. With an impressive faculty roster, the weekend will be filled with invaluable information and interactive events for both dogs and handlers. Each day will feature interesting topics, hands-on workshops, debriefings, Q&A sessions, lively discussions, book signings, door prizes, and plenty of networking and information-sharing opportunities.

Workshops will include: ' Building Teamwork ' Bridge & Target Training for Therapy Dogs ' Grooming Tips for Therapy Dogs ' Aromatherapy for Therapy Dogs and Handlers ' Safe-Handling Skills and Equipment Review ' The Invisible Visit ' An Introduction to Intuitive Touch ' An Introduction to Reading Education Assistance Dog' Programs ' Legal Issues Affecting Pet Therapy ' Body Language ' Human and Canine ' Putting It All Together ' A Panel Discussion on Visiting Special Populations and Trends in Animal Assisted Therapy

Dog/handler teams will also visit the Tolstoy Nursing Home on the campus for an actual working therapy visit. The camp will conclude with a group portrait, distribution of Certificates of Attendance, and a final review with Q&A.

The camp is limited to 20 dog/handler teams, a small size that allows for individual attention. Dogs must be at least one year old, and the dog/handler team must be registered with a national or regional pet therapy organization or come with a letter of recommendation from a professional trainer. Each camper may bring one (1) dog. All breeds, including mixed breeds, are welcome. Dogs must be calm, friendly, quiet, healthy (with proof of current rabies vaccination), and crate-trained. Included in the registration fee for each dog/handler team is an overnight private room on campus in a dormitory setting. Meals will be served buffet style on campus.

A limited number of auditing opportunities (without dogs) will be available. Auditors will participate fully in all workshops except those in which dogs are working and receive all handouts and also receive meals on campus. Auditors coming from out of town can stay in nearby motels.

The Hudson Valley Humane Society Visiting Pet Program is a non-profit Delta Society affiliate that has been providing Animal Assisted Therapy, Activity and Education since 1994. The group's registered, trained and insured pets and their owners/volunteers bring smiles and joy to the seniors and children they visit on a weekly basis. For those interested in learning more about Animal Assisted Therapy the group conducts Delta training throughout the year and provides on-going support, training and insurance. HVHS Visiting Pet Program was founded by Dolores Schaub and CJ Puotinen, author of The Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care.

Teams include dog, cats and other pets and all handlers are volunteers. Those who wish to get involved but do not have a pet can join as escorts. In addition to Delta, the group is an associate of the renowned Reading Education Assistance Dogs' program and offers animal assisted reading programs to libraries and schools in Rockland, Bergen and Orange Counties. For more information visit their website at Or call 845-267-8795.

The camp's fee for each dog/handler team is $485. Those who register by June 1, 2007 save $50 and pay only $435. Registration deadline is September 15, 2007. Auditors pay $325 for the full weekend. One day audits will be permitted if space allows (preference will be given to full-weekend auditors). Limited spaces available. All participants receive a camp T-shirt.

To register visit or call 845-267-8795. You can also send an e-mail to [email protected].