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Can a tiny therapy dog be effective?

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Petey is very small, only four pounds. But he can do almost every job a large therapy dog can do. And some even better.

Petey works with small children and even though he is so tiny, they are often afraid of even this dog. So building up their trust and confidence is the start of the relationship. The best thing about Petey is that he is very playful when asked to be. Even though he is eleven years old, he can prance and walk well and roll over and he just loves belly rubs.

And very calm when he needs to be.

Because of his size he is perfect for sitting on small laps or being cradled by small hands.

He is not fragile but pretty sturdy but caution is always of importance as he is being handled. But I have found that everyone wants to be very gentle with Petey as he looks so tiny and this helps with their coordination and strength control as well.

I have found a really comfortable assisted hold position whereby my hand is always under Petey so should I need to lift him quickly, I can.

Petey can be lifted right up to someone's neck or chin if that is where they can feel him the best or laid down in the crook of an arm or knee.

He loves to lie down on laps and will stay in that position forever. And when doing therapy sessions he will lie down on his blanket and we can easily move him around as we want him closer and closer to the client.

Petey can even be a "walking" dog because with the children we work with, we want a small dog with a very nice pace to walk beside them.

And Petey does one thing few other dogs can do! He teaches the children that even if you have no teeth and can't see very well, you just have to keep trying and trying to learn new things. Especially those children or adults working on their speech. It took many months for Petey to find his voice after his teeth were removed and he now has two very distinct "undog" like sounds but I know exactly what they mean. One guttural sound means I have to go potty," and his little squeak is his "happy sound."

The best part about Petey is he motivates everyone to keep trying and shows them that what you look like or what you have been through doesn't matter. Any goal can be achieved at any age when you just give it your all.

For more information about Pet Partners visit www.petpartners.org and to learn more about the Love Dogs in Las Vegas, visit www.lovedogadventures.com.

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