Golden Retrievers are special canines, there is no doubt about it. There is just something about this breed of dog that attracts people no matter the situation. That is why they make such good therapy dogs.
A good example of a specialized type of therapy dog is the Comfort Dogs (all Goldens) that belong to the Lutheran Church Charities. These dogs go where they are invited to help and heal people in various settings. They are simply there to provide ‘comfort’ as is their title.
Another good example is a specific therapy dog whose name is Journey (derived from his AKC name EagleRidges Don’t Stop Believing – based on the iconic music group Journey). Before anyone even gets the opportunity to meet this dog, just seeing him lets them know that he is a very special dog.
You see, Journey had a congenital defect and is missing his left front paw. That never stopped him from being all he could be, but his therapy dog parents, Pat and Ron Graff, thought that the dog could do even more if given a prosthetic limb.
So, in 2009, Westcoast Brace & Limb of Tampa, Florida, helped the couple achieve for Journey what they believed would help him even further in his career as a therapy dog. Journey has sported a prosthetic paw since then and according to the Graffs, he knows how important his paw truly is. He never chews it or tries to remove it. No, on the contrary, this dog respects his bionic paw and uses it to teach others like public service workers or military veterans hurt in the line of duty to accept their fate. The dog displays that there are other ways to get around and to appreciate life as it is dealt.
Journey and his canine brother, Jason (also a therapy dog), recently appeared at a Wounded Warrior event in Tampa where they circulated through the crowds; meeting as many individuals as time would allow. A couple of Citadel students, Adam Morse and Reese Stoneburner, stopped to meet the dog with the bionic paw. These young men are able to appreciate the story behind the dog and the fact that, although he may not be like others, he continues to bring good will to those that can use it. He doesn’t give up!
It is always the goal for anyone planning to join the military to not take life for granted. But when a good example shows itself, those that understand are even more appreciative. These young men were grateful for Journey being present and for Pat and Ron Graff (and Jason) for coming out to such an important event; supporting our troops.
Therapy dogs mean a lot to the masses. Carry on Journey, your path is one of kindness and healing. We need more dogs like you to help people in need!