I am the SelfWorks’ therapy dog known for good snuggles, gentle kisses and welcoming greetings. I am a West Highland White Terrier or “Westie” for short, a hypoallergenic breed that does not cause allergies. I sit, stay, speak, give paw and play fetch. I love to meet new people of all ages and sizes, and am especially gentle with small children.
Sometimes people feel anxious about starting therapy or have really intense feelings at various points in their treatment. Having me nearby often provides relief, due to my compassionate and loyal nature. In addition, petting me produces an automatic relaxation response, which is believed to reduce the amount of medication needed by some people.
If you feel uncomfortable with dogs, I will stay home on the days of your session, eating rawhide and playing with my stuffed moose and squeaky pig toys. Your therapy is all about you, and I am flexible.
If you do decide to have me join your sessions, there are many benefits you can expect.
Physically, therapy dogs lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, release calming endorphins, and lower physical pain. Emotionally, you may find your mood and stress level improves, feelings of isolation diminish, communication and socialization improve; and you feel more motivated and interpersonally connected.
Sounds pretty good right? Not a bad trade off for a few belly rubs here and there…
At this point, you might be wondering how I joined the SelfWorks family. It’s a funny story from what I’ve been told. One day while watching the NY Yankees, my mommy owner, Amy Vigliotti, bet my daddy owner that Matsui would hit a home run when up to bat to tie the game. Sure enough, next pitch was out of the ballpark and Amy won the bet – they were getting a dog! They found me, 2 months old in a basement in Queens, and I found my forever home. My dad named me after Matsui – his nickname is Godzilla because he was such a power hitter! I’ve got a big name and an even bigger heart.
So that is a little bit about me… I’m looking forward to learning more about you!