Ashley’s journey was a long one despite her very loving and gentle nature. Having been tied to a tree for 3 years for breeding purposes, there were behaviors that needed to be corrected and new ones learned. Reactive to other dogs, Ashley performed obedience behind a curtain the first 5 weeks, but with positive reinforcement finished the last 3 weeks with the class. Ashley continued to excel, passing advanced obedience classes and her Good Citizen Canine (CGC) evaluation. “In today’s world you need to protect yourself from litigation, which is the reason I decided to certify Ashley with a nationally recognized agency, Therapy Dogs, Inc. (now Alliance for Therapy Dogs), says Mom Kathy. “As a new dog handler/therapy team, Ashley and I were blessed by my priest at mass not because of our volunteer commitment, but for the ministry work we were beginning.”
Ashley, now 10, continues to spread joy and bring smiles to the terminally ill and their families at a local hospice facility each week. “It’s amazing how God’s unconditional love and compassion is demonstrated through the extraordinary interaction of a therapy dog!” As a team they also do presentations at health fairs to educate and encourage others to become a therapy team.