Service dogs are trained for a specific task and helping one specific individual, such as a person with PTSD or diabetes. Therapy dogs offer emotional help and can offer this support to everybody who needs it. Meet Rose.
At just seven weeks old, Rose, a purebred yellow lab, was fostered in the home of Charlotte Feckers of New Hartford. Today, after just celebrating her fourth birthday, she is a loveable therapy dog. Rose was picked to be a breeding dog for Retrieving Freedom in Waverly due to her personality and temperament. Because of this, she became certified as a therapy dog so she could continue helping people. The breeding program makes it possible for Rose’s puppies to be trained and follow in her footsteps, allowing the genes to be carried on.
Charlotte’s journey with therapy dogs was inspired by her grandfather who was a World War II veteran and also after losing her mother to suicide ten years ago. She was determined to impact the community and help raise awareness for these things. Rose travels with Charlotte daily to MercyOne Waterloo Medical Center. When Rose enters a patient’s room and the flooring changes from carpet to linoleum, she knows her work begins. She can sense that someone in the room may be sick and she knows she must be settled and gentle.
Rose works with both adults and children. She not only visits patients who are staying in the hospital but also those going through physical therapy. There is a spark of happiness when Rose works with patients. She is there to bring comfort and help the patient take their mind off of being just that…a patient in a hospital. Rose can be a distraction from pain and give patients moments of feeling that they aren‘t sick.
“Rose has changed the lives of so many people, Charlotte stated, “I think I have gotten more out of it than her!”
When asked how long Rose’s career would be, Charlotte answered, “As long as Rose wants to go, she will go!” For now, Rose will be re-certified each year and continue doing what she does best and that is bringing smiles and comfort to people everyday.
“Awareness of therapy dogs and getting the word out about how important they are, is huge,” Charlotte expressed. “I’ve seen the impact that Rose has had on hospital patients. It’s a labor of love.”