Wally, a touch therapy dog from St. Louis, Missouri, is the proud winner of the Purina + GOOD's "Hero Pets to the Rescue" Challenge. Although the other 14 finalists in the Challenge gave Wally a run for his money, he ultimately came out on top.
When we all learned what Wally does, it is no wonder he was voted the winner. With his calm character, this therapy canine visits not only the Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, but he also goes to assist a local special education high school class in the town as well. Because of his true dedication and undying love for the people that he helps, he won the $5k donation which will be given in his name to Support Dogs, a pet service non-profit that Wally graduated from. (Read his whole story at: http://www.good.is/posts/good-maker-challenge-winner-this-dog-brings-comfort-to-children-that-need-it-most.)
Support Dogs, Incorporated, began The TOUCH (Therapy of Unique Canine Helpers) Program in 1989 in response to increasing requests from medical professionals. The certified volunteers, along with their own dogs, began training for the program so that they would be able to visit healthcare and other facilities in order to provide the benefit of a well-trained canine administering love and support to the patients, residents, students, etc. Wally is a large part of that program as you can tell from this big win!
Although not breed specific, there are a few requirements in order to qualify for The TOUCH Program, including:
· Temperament evaluation must be completed.
· Dog must be between the ages of two and 10.
· Handlers must be over 18-years-old.
· Dogs must complete at least six weeks of basic adult dog obedience class with their handler.
· Handlers must have had the dog in their possession for at least one year.
· Dog may not receive any type of protection- or aggression-based training.
Wally completely fit the bill on all points! Together with his handler, Kathy Howard, they have accomplished a lot! They won coupons for a year’s supply of Purina ONE dog food, and a donation of $5,000 will be made to Support Dogs, Inc. so that this fine program will be able to continue and flourish.
Congratulations to both Wally and Kathy on their ultimate win. Keep up the great work. The hospitalized individuals and the special needs students are certainly lucky to have you! The world is lucky to have in it helping others out!