By RALPH ANSAMI
Bessemer - Julie DeRosie and her yellow Labrador, Remington, have been preparing to become a therapy team for nearly two years.
The former Bessemer Area School District teacher and coach purchased the dog when it was just 7 weeks old and they are now providing therapy to elderly and the disabled in the area, dealing with nursing homes and Aspirus Ironwood Hospital.
They are registered through Pet Partners of Bellevue, Washington.
DeRosie took a handlers' course and with Remington by her side, she passed a team evaluation in June at Marquette.
"We have made visits to our hospital and clinic and the Gogebic Medical Care Facility in Wakefield. We plan to make contact with our other nursing homes soon," DeRosie said on Thursday afternoon.
They are registered through Pet Partners for the organization's "Read With Me" and "Walk With Me" programs.
Like most dogs, Remington likes to be outside, enjoys attention and carries a toy with him on his walks. He stands to gain as much out of the experiences as his handler and the people they seek to help.
In a brief visit to the Daily Globe offices, Remington cozied up to some new pals, displaying the friendly temperament that is ideal for a therapy dog.
"Therapy dogs enhance human health and well-being. They can positively impact our physical, social and emotional lives," DeRosie said.
The can also motivate people to participate in their treatment protocols or provide comfort to the dying in their final days. They are also popular among hospital and nursing home staff members.
"Engaging in therapy work is hard for both the humans and the animals that provide the services. Since we are asking the animals to do this work with us, we must accept responsibility for their welfare and safety so they are properly trained and looked after while working with the clients," she said.
It is an all-volunteer service.
The team is insured through Pet Partners.
"If you or a loved one is in the hospital or nursing home and would like a visit, please use that facility to contact me," DeRosie said.