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"Our Wagging Tails Bring Comfort & Love"
This past year, Fostering Friendship participated in reading groups at South Fork, South Lexington, Midway, and Brunson Elementary schools, The Piedmont School and North Davie Middle School, helping young students gain confidence in their reading abilities. We have attended career day at both South Fork and Sherwood Forest Elementary.
We attended "Sib-Shops," the special sibling support event at the Centers for Exceptional Children. There were 14 teams in attendance for the children to interact with.
We presented the Stop the 77 Program at the Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem and South Fork Elementary School.
Fostering Friendship attended a workshop with Internal Medicine residents at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital, where we discussed the effects of therapy dogs on patient care and stress relief for the staff. We presented a Lunch & Learn to the Wake Forest PA Students and visit the UNC School of the Arts very month.
We visit Arbor Acres, Yadkinville Nursing & Rehab and Trinity Elms multiple times a month. We visit the SECU Family House of Winston-Salem every week.
And those are just the organized events, the things Fostering Friendship does as a group. Individual therapy teams have been frequent visitors to The KBR Hospice House and the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem.
So why would anyone go through all that work?
Because it's worth it.
Fostering Friendship is a therapy dog group based in Winston-Salem. Elite Canine trainer, Geralyn Kelly, tests the dogs in a variety of conditions to ensure they have the proper temperament, behavior, and personality to act as part of a therapy team.
We test the humans, too, ensuring they have proper control of the dogs at all times. We don't evaluate them for compassion, caring, and good-humor. But you'll find all of these traits--and more--among the human halves of our therapy teams.
But before the teams ever make it to evaluation, they have to complete 30 hours of classroom training. That doesn't include the countless hours of "off-time" practice at home.
After evaluation, each team must complete ten supervised visits in a therapeutic setting. There, they are observed and further evaluated by team members as they interact with the residents, children and staff.
It's only after completing each of the above steps that a team becomes certified. The class hours alone take an average of four months. The supervised visits can take an additional ten weeks or more.
It sounds like an awful lot of work, doesn't it? Why on earth would anyone go through all that?
In 2015, the Fostering Friendship Therapy Dog Team was honored by the Forsyth Humane Society and presented with the Morykwas Humane Citizen Award.