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Therapy dog joins family at Brookwood Community

December 20, 2018

Citizens at the Brookwood Community welcomed a new furry companion this month when Demi, a trained therapy dog, moved in and became the facility’s goodwill ambassador to the greater Houston area.

Demi, a 3-year-old female English Field Trial Bred Black Labrador Retriever, was all smiles as she toured the Brookwood Community on Dec. 11 making friends and cheering up those she met along the way. The Brookwood facility is a nonprofit organization about 40 miles west of Houston that serves functionally disabled residents who live on the campus full time.

Jennifer Tiedt, senior marketing and development officer at Brookwood, said that in just the one week she’s lived on campus, the black lab has already had an impact on the 225 resident adults living and working there.

“Our Citizens are so excited to welcome Demi to our Brookwood family,” she said. “She has already brought a sense of calming and companionship, especially to some of our adults with disabilities who may struggle with anxiety.”

The dog will live on the 485-acre campus full-time with her handler Greg Glauser, the community’s life director. As a facility therapy dog, Demi will be visiting with citizens, staff and guests on campus throughout the day.

Healing Pause, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide fully trained and sponsored on-staff therapy dogs to communities in need, donated Demi to the Brookwood Community. Its founder Nathan Davila said Demi as the facility’s therapy dog was the “perfect fit.”

“Brookwood teaches not only its citizens, but all of us that: no matter who you are, inside of you lies the ability to make a difference in someone else’s life,” Davila said. “Demi will now be a part of that legacy.”

Davila said therapy dogs provide “a full circle of healing” to those who need it.

“At the biological level, they help create neural pathways to deal with different traumas down to being able to help a human understand unconditional love,” Davila said. “At the point you can learn how God loves us and it’s a healing at the soul level.”

Being able to pause and pet, snuggle or “love on her” will provide a physical and mental connection for the Citizens at Brookwood, he added.

Studies have shown that canine-assisted therapy for patients of all ages had a positive effect on their health and wellbeing.

In one study published by the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, authors found that therapy dogs can elicited “positive quality-of-life experiences in institutionalized people with dementia.” Another study by PLoS One showed that child patients with leukemia had a decrease in pain, stress and depressive symptoms when they connected with a therapy dog.

As Demi gets comfortable in her new environment, staff at the Brookwood Community will use her to accompany Citizens in the Meals on Wheels program and to assist in creating positive therapeutic responses in patients, Davila said.

As part of the sponsorship, Demi will be fully trained through Dratchen Performance and will have all her food, grooming and medical needs met, Davila said.

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