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Red Cross in Florence gets relief from therapy dogs

September 24, 2018

FLORENCE, S.C. – Margi Moore is helping dogs get into the act of helping people in the Pee Dee recover from Hurricane Florence and its aftermath.

Moore helped organize a visit from seven dogs certified by Therapy Dogs International to visit the American Red Cross building on West Lucas Street on Thursday evening to provide a few minutes for Red Cross staff members to relax from the stressful days they spent helping people in the Pee Dee get back on their feet following the storm.

Among the dogs visiting were Gracie, a pitbull owned by Amy McCalman; Roxy, a mixed breed dog owned by Linda Damiano; Honey and Kelly, two golden retrievers owned by Karen Cox; Mocha, a doxie-poo owned by Tricia Street; and Bentley and Bug, owned by Moore and her husband, David. Moore, who also is an evaluator with Therapy Dogs International, certified each of the dogs that visited the American Red Cross.

The American Red Cross was given Moore’s contact information by a local veterinarian. Once she was contacted, Moore posted on a Facebook group for the therapy dog owners she has worked with. Within 24 hours, the seven dogs were able to visit the West Lucas location of the American Red Cross.

“To have four teams that are willing to show up tonight less than 24 hours after I get the call, I think that speaks volumes for how much we want to help this program, because we know what the Red Cross gives to the flood victims,” Moore said.

One of the volunteers said simply that she really needed this after the day she had had.

Moore added that she was thankful the local chapter of Therapy Dogs International had a variety of sizes of dog, from Mocha up to Gracie. Bigger dogs, she said, are more likely to have the needed temperament to become a therapy dog, but some people who haven’t been around a lot of dogs might be skittish because of the size of the bigger dogs.

Moore has been involved with therapy dogs for many years.

“Back in ’99, I had a dog who was very friendly with people,” Moore said. “She seemed to loved everybody. I thought it would be a great program to get into.”

She said she was attracted to becoming a therapy dog owner because it gave her the opportunity to give back to the community. Moore said she got more out of seeing the joy on people’s faces as they spent time with her dogs than the time she has spent becoming certified and traveling to hospitals, schools and nursing homes.

Moore is on her fourth therapy dog. The original dog lasted for a few years, and then Moore had a Dachshund who made around 300 visits. She now has two dogs, poodles Bentley and Bug, that are certified as therapy dogs, but Bentley is 13 years old, so Moore does not visit with him anymore.

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