Now more than ever, animals are being called upon to tend to the therapeutic needs of people across an increasingly broad spectrum including individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Luke, a specially trained golden retriever, makes weekly visits to the clients of Holy Angels. Laurie Boswell, Holy Angels’ CEO, is Luke’s owner and handler. Laurie and Luke completed skills and aptitude testing to become a Delta Society Pet Partners Team. The Delta Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving people’s health through animal-assisted activities (AAA) and animal-assisted therapy (AAT).
With the clients of Holy Angels in mind, Rick Boswell adopted this golden retriever from the Caddo Parish Animal Shelter. Sister Concetta and Sister Gemma were charged with choosing his name. They chose the name Luke, after the great biblical physician. They felt he was an angel sent to Holy Angels to provide love and joy to all who experience his friendship. When you meet him, you’ll understand why.
“From the beginning, we knew that he was something special,” explained Laurie. Luke easily took to the rigorous obedience training. As a member of a Pet Partners Team, Luke must be able to sit; stay; handle crowds; be calm despite sudden, erratic behavior; and wait to be invited into a room.
The Holy Angels clients enjoy playing with Luke and he exhibits extraordinary care for them. Luke also seems to anticipate our clients’ needs and congratulates their progress with a hug.
“He wants to go to work every morning,” says Laurie. “We recently adopted a Golden Retriever puppy named Leia. She is already in training and will be following in Luke’s footsteps ”
The benefits of pet therapy:
- To improve human health through service and therapy animals.
- Expand awareness of the positive effects animals have on human health.
- Expand the therapeutic and service role of animals in human healthcare and education.
Visit Pet Partners for more information.