Introducing Louie: A Dog Assisting in Care Management

By: Tiffany Cloud-Mann, M.Ed.


Introducing Louie

I can’t say I’ve always been an animal lover, but dogs have always been more favored by me than cats. Sorry cat lovers! I didn’t have a dog growing up and didn’t get my very own fur baby until I was in my early 20’s. Roxy, a black and white Shih Tzu mix, was given to me by my now husband when we were dating. We had Roxy a little over 10 years. She was around for our marriage and welcoming our two sons into the world. I was not prepared for how I would feel when she passed away. I knew I would be sad but had no clue how sad. It was very different coming home without Roxy there. I don’t think I realized at the time how much Roxy gave to me personally or how animals can impact someone’s mental and physical health. Throughout my undergraduate and graduate schooling in counseling, I had at least two professors bring their dogs to class. In my undergraduate classes, my professor Dr. Dew brought her dog named Daisy to class. Daisy would lay near Dr. Dew or in the middle of our circle as we worked on counseling skills. She didn’t do much, but her presence did something. Maybe she made it easier for students to talk about difficult things or attempt new counseling skills, either way, she made things better. A professor I had in my graduate level classes also had a therapy dog. I recall this dog was small and grayish black. Her dog would do tricks and interact with students. My professor would use her dog and tricks he was working on to provide comparisons to things clients may  be working through in counseling. This dog was used in drug and alcohol counseling groups.

Louie Becoming A Helper

Approximately two years after Roxy passed away, we felt it was time that our home needed a dog again. We decided our next dog would be adopted, there are so many wonderful animals that need homes. We went through Proverbs 12:10. We found Louie, a small black dog, who was one at the time of adoption and is possibly of the same lineage as Toto from Wizard of Oz. In Louie’s 3rd year of life I decided to investigate getting him certified as a therapy dog. It just so happened that at least 2 of my clients at the time responded better when I took Louie with me to see them. They were more open to speaking and sharing with me and seemed to find real joy in petting Louie and giving him treats. I got in touch with the local chapter of Pet Partners, a national organization that certifies animals and their owners as teams to go into communities together. They will test an animal’s temperament as well as their owner’s leadership of the animal and knowledge of best practices in pet therapy. Pet Therapy, which is not the same a service dog or an emotional support animal, is a guided interaction between a person and a trained animal.

Louie Is Really Helping- Research to Prove It

The research that shows how beneficial animal assisted therapy is will blow your mind. Check out the UCLA health website here, and the findings mentioned. Just to list a few facts listed on their website: Animals can lower anxiety and help people relax, assist in recall of memories and help sequence temporal events in patients with head injuries or chronic disease such as Alzheimer’s disease. Animals can lower blood pressure and diminish overall physical pain. I think this is so cool. I don’t think pets are utilized enough and how simply using them for their presence may bring comfort to someone. Louie doesn’t always sit when I tell him, but his temperament is one that allows for lots of attention both in receiving and giving.


Louie May Get Us In The Door

I feel so lucky that I get to use Louie in my work as a Care Manager. Having Louie as a tool in my tool bag allows me to think outside the box when I have a client that may be resistant to my help but may be open to a visit with Louie. Louie is the connector which allows me to build a relationship with them and then start addressing their needs. If you have been unsure how Care Management will be received, but sure that your loved one likes to love on dogs, contact us today. Louie is on the payroll and will happy to meet anyone with treats and warm embraces.


4 comments on “Introducing Louie: A Dog Assisting in Care Management

  1. Susie B Roehrig on

    Wow! Some very good information here. Things I didn’t realize about our 4- legged friends being so helpful in our lives. Keep up the wonderful work you do, you never know just who needs you ( and Louie). ?

  2. Donnie Cloud on

    What a great article, great job Tiffany. As you know we take Jake to the nursing home to see granny and the residents just lite up when they see him. They al just want to say hi and pet him.


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