(Virginia Association of Activity Professionals)
Activity Directors (and two dogs) attended the 2004 VAAP conference
this spring. Dr. Marie Suthers-McCabe, head of CENTAUR at VA
TECH asked Winnie and me to co-present the therapy dog topic with her
at the conference that was held at the Charlottesville Omni
Hotel. Dr. Suthers-McCabe is at the top of the line in the
animal-human relations world--in fact, she's world-famous for her work
in human-animal relations! I'm really lucky that she wrote the
Foreword for my book--and is promoting it in her work.
|We checked in with Steve Patras
and Tommy DaMitz who made us feel welcome. Our room was comfy.
and the hotel was surrounded by grass, trees and flowers--nice for dog
|Although I've e-mailed Dr. Marie
a lot, I'd never met her in person before because she came to our
house several years ago on the very day I was in the hospital having
cancer surgery. Dr. Marie and I had lots to talk about!
|Since I would be helping Dr.
Marie explain about therapy dogs the next morning, we needed to
register with the VAAP officials.
|Our sessions were scheduled for
8:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. I wondered if anybody would be in harness by
8 o'clock but I needn't have worried--a lot of activity directors
turned up to hear us.
|Mom and I did our PowerPoint
first. Then Dr. Marie followed up with a much more scholarly talk in
which she cited many different studies recently completed which prove
how valuable using therapy dogs is in elevating the quality of life in
||At the end of the hour, we
answered questions from the audience. It was then that I learned that
many long-term care facilities new require their Activity Directors to
include therapy dogs in their activities. Hurrah - at last
people are waking up to the benefits we offer!
|Because Mom has a hard time
getting on the right roads on a trip, our Uncle Sam drove us to
Charlottesville. Mom snapped this picture of him at the VAAP buffet
table because of the daffodils. He loves daffodils almost as much as I
||All in all, the week-long
conference gave participants a zillion ideas about different
activities they could use in their facilities--including ways to use
music, crafts, cooking, painting, word games, etc. It makes Winnie and
me feel good that dog therapy was on the list!