In February of 2021 RocDog was little more than a dream. The Pandemic caused many National Therapy Groups to shut down. Several saying they would not restart until everything was back to normal. The question we had was, when will it ever be normal again? We are now more than two years into the Pandemic, and we still have issues. People in the World are hurting. The Pandemic has affected us all. But staying home is not the answer for us. RocDog was created to be out in the Community, NOW. The need was and is urgent. People are hurting and we all need each other now more than ever. This lack of services from other Groups was enough to create the spark that got RocDog going. On March 9th of 2021 RocDog was created as a Non-Profit 501 (c)(3) in the state of New York. The plan was simple. Create the Group and hope to find 3 Dogs that could be Certified as Therapy Dogs with their Handlers in the first 12 months. The plan was to support our community in any way we could. Then the dream was to hopefully grow the Group to 12 Certified Therapy Dogs and Handlers by the end of 24 months. Things have not gone to plan for RocDog. Our growth has been nothing short of amazing. In our first 18 months RocDog has now grown to:
- 127 Certified Therapy Dogs
- 164 Handlers/Volunteers
- Working in over 100 different facilities across Western New York
To become part of the RocDog does not require that you even have a Therapy Dog. Your desire to Serve in the Community is all it will take to get involved. Do you have a dog that you think could become a Therapy Dog? Contact us and we can help you evaluate your dog and assist you in finding the right training to prepare your dog for this wonderful work.
RocDog is currently involved with many different types of groups and facilities at this time, these include:
- Law Enforcement Agencies
- Senior Care Facilities
- Plus, individuals that just needing time with a Therapy Dog
Contact us today to see how you can get involved or get a visit.
RocDog’s goal from the beginning was to be different. We use the term Family to define our Volunteers. A Non-Profit is only as good as it’s Volunteers. At RocDog we have the BEST Volunteer’s in the World. Together we are serving in our Communities.
Therapy Dogs offer a fantastic avenue to be able to bring people together from just about any background. The hope is that this group of people and dogs will come together to support each other as they serve.
The first thing they plan to do is get people with dogs that have completed Therapy Dog training to get themselves and their Dogs certified. They will then work to create Teams to begin to go out into the Community.
Training will be an important part of working with the Volunteers and dogs. Handlers and Volunteers need to understand that they are truly a big part of the Therapy effort. Words and actions can give great comfort. Many times, a Therapy Dog breaks the barrier within a session. The Handler and Volunteer can then spend time just communicating in conversation. Therapy Dogs know that many people they serve feel isolated and lonely. As Team members become trained and certified, they will begin to move out into the Community serving at different locations. More experienced Teams may find themselves in more challenging places to serve. As the Family of Volunteers grow, there will be lots of different jobs that Volunteers can fulfill that will become visible in the Community. Paul and Sue Anthony believe that Therapy Dogs and Handlers/Teams will have a positive impact on the local Community.
The goal of using the term Community is to direct RocDog services in several directions. Their desire is to help work through the disconnection of Law Enforcement and the community. Law Enforcement needs community support. As those relationships build, RocDog Non-Profit will assist in building bridges and mending broken relationships from the past.
They also see themselves working with different groups and businesses in the Community. For example: Hospitals, Schools, Transitional Living Homes, Shelters, Nursing Homes, businesses, and any groups that could use the services.
Another possibility is to be able to provide special Dogs to people as a Therapy Dog or Service Dog. The process can be hard. First, they must find the right Dog as a puppy and spend time training the dog for this service. Then finding a match with someone in need. It will take special staff to implement this type of program. Also, another area to explore is the training of service dogs for people that have special needs. They understand that this is an idea that is down the road. These services will require highly trained people to work with these dogs and help placement with people. The list of people that can benefit from these types of dogs is long. For example: veterans that have come home with PTSD’s.
The goal of using the term WORLD is to assist when a disaster or a crisis strikes close to home, or outsanyplace we are called to help. Our Volunteers are prepared to be able to go when needed. This will require special training for Handlers and Volunteers. Several things happen when assisting in these types of events. They are:
- Handlers must be prepared for what they are going to encounter.
- First time Handlers will be required to go along with a veteran.
- Only go to places that RocDog is invited.
Once we have a core group trained for this type of service, we will contact Agencies to create partnerships with them, and be ready to serve when called on.
The second part of the World for them, is looking around the world to find places that they can support with some of their resources.
Places they are currently supporting:
“Home of Love Orphanage” in Leogane, Haiti, feeding 40 Orphans every month. “Be Finally Free “in Bakersfield, California, helping people in need.
Our Mission Statement
At RocDog our Mission is to:
- Provide complete Therapy Dog Services to those in need.
- Provide specialized “Therapy Support Dogs” to Special Needs Families.
- Provide an environment where our Certified Therapy Dogs and Handlers can thrive.
Be Proactive in all our efforts:
- Creating a Family of People and Dogs that can support each other and learn how to assist others.
- Be in the Community to bring healing, support, and better understanding for everyone we work with.
- Be in the World to help support those in need.
RocDog has created a Family of Volunteers and Certified Therapy Dogs that can come together to be a force for GOOD in our Community.
At RocDog we value everyone. We are committed to join with and serve all those we find in need. We believe that Therapy Dogs can have a profound effect on people from all walks of life. We want to be that “Good Neighboor” to all those in need.