“Rocky, who suffers from Chiari, a neurological disease and is visually impaired, loves hearing young children’s voices,” says Ginger. “He’s our own special needs child who seems to understand children better since they, like him, don’t consider handicaps to be limitations.”
After Hearts of Gold Coordinator, Ginger, adopted the now 5-year-old golden, he worked alongside previous GRRMF alum Bailey, who was TDI certified in 2014. Rocky has done therapy work since 2017 and has ensured that his new GRRMF sister Madison is following in both of their paw steps.
The facilities on this veteran team’s agenda are: Moffitt Cancer Centers (Tampa); The Blackberry Center; Bethesda Memory Care Center; The Town Center; Fountains of Melbourne; No Limits Academy; Ability Plus Therapy; Village Veranda Memory Care Center; Enterprise Elementary School, and University campus – Florida Tech, Valencia East, Barry University Law School. They also act as ambassadors at many of the events we ourselves host.
“Rocky loves his therapy visits to No Limits Academy for spinal cord and brain injury children. He adores listening to their voices and they adore interacting with him. Because of his visual impairment and neurological issues, Rocky will zone in on an autistic child and immediately soothe their sensory issues. Both will comfort each other with understanding and love. “It’s truly beautiful to see. My reward is being able to tag along on the other end of the leash and watch the joy that Rocky brings to everyone.”
“Because Rocky is blind,” Ginger continues, “we had to be creative during his training since he didn’t know when I’d be turning. I solved the problem by putting his favorite tennis ball in my left pocket so that he could follow its scent. When the ball moved right, he instinctively turned. It took a lot of patience and practice, but he ultimately passed his AKC-CGC and therapy certifications.”
As for this dedicated team’s future plans, Ginger intends to continue supporting the GRRMF Hearts of Gold program’s efforts to be recognized as a certifying therapy organization and to gain access to facilities that currently only accept nationally certified TDI and ATD dog/handler teams.
Canine Good Citizen
Project PUP certified
Moffitt Cancer Center therapy certified
Hearts of Gold Therapy Team