If you love dogs, then you’ll love this next story. It’s about a pet that is so much more.
We take a look inside the world of a therapy dog, a golden retriever that goes to great lengths to make people happy.
Gracie and I go to work, in tonight’s installment of brad means does my job.
The first order of business is to make Gracie look good. Ron Emery is her handler and knows that first impressions mean everything.
“I want to make her look as good as possible to the people. People react a little bit better to a dog that looks really clean.”
And there’s a bonus, grooming Gracie comes with lots of smiles
She smiles at camera and even a little love.
Our first stop is Augusta Regional Airport. She’s here to help passengers with just about anything as part of Paws for Pax.
Paws for pax is a program that’s here at the airport and it’s at other airports all across the country that comes in and allows people to distress. She also does babysitting for kids if they’re there and people that are afraid of flying she’ll come in and give them a chance to forget about what’s stressing them out.”
It doesn’t take long for passengers to take to Gracie.
“Hi Gracie. How ya doin? Awwww.”
“May I have your attention please”
The sights and sounds of a busy morning give way to a connection.
“I mean they’re just so cute and furry and we just want to love them.”
“If there was a room full of puppies where we can all hang out, waiting for our flights, I’m sure everybody would like to go to the airport a lot more.”
That’s why she’s here. To give you a break, to shift your focus from all that life throws at you, if only for a few fur filled minutes.
There’s lots of different types of love in the world, but i think a dog’s love is my favorite.
Not a bad way to spend a morning–having your spirits lifted before you fly away.
For me to be able to give back that’s one of the best things that i can possibly do is to just see somebody smile that maybe was a little big stressed out to begin with, so.
Gracie doesn’t just work the airport though, she can be found helping patients who are going through physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Gracie’s handler is Ron Emory. He knew she had potential when she was just a puppy and he took her to a trainer.
“From there they said that she had the temperament to be a therapy dog, so we went into some advanced training.”
That training has helped a lot of people in Gracie’s short lifetime. Today the 4 year old and I are on the job at Neuro Restorative. She’s not here to do tricks:
Gracie shake. Shake. Gracie shake. Shake. Good.
She’s here just to hang out. Quality time with clients at Neuro Restorative.
Hey how’s it going? Fine. How you doing? How you feeling?
They are here because of illness or injury.
“Gracie Gracie Gracie”
She is here to make them focus on something else.
Robert Pippin is a colleague of ours at Television Park.
He is recovering from a stroke, and Gracie is trying to help.
“Well you know how they say some people can walk into a room and the room just lights up? That’s what she does when she walks into a room. Everybody just lights up.”
There’s something about Gracie that creates such a strong connection.
“Who doesn’t love a dog?”
“It’s nice to see a dog because I have a dog. My parents have a dog.”
How do you have such a good way with dogs? I have 3. You have 3 dogs? Yeah. You got any as big as Gracie? No.”
Maybe the connection comes from something that really distinguishes dogs from humans.
“They don’t speak.”
They don’t speak. That helps doesn’t it?
Gracie is also making an impact on the people who work here.
Yes. Sometimes I challenge them with certain therapy and they don’t smile for me. When Gracie comes through that door, Gracie lifts their spirit.”
Such good work from a great dog. Ron Emory is her handler. He retired from club car and just wanted to make sure he didn’t get bored and have to return to work.
“Gracie and I started doing therapy work and we stay so busy that there’s no way i could ever go back now.”