Sally the dog is a therapy dog, who has been offering therapy for about 10 years now in Brunswick, Ohio with her beloved owner Joe Dacey. The 11-year-old husky, Australian shepherd and Border collie mix is a certified therapy dog and has done over 1,130 visits.
When asked what his role in the therapy is, Dacey often says that he is just the deadweight on the end of the leash.
Sally was the one no one wanted, but Dacey rescued her. Simply by looking at Sally, no one would ever know that she has Crohn’s disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that can sometimes cause life-threatening complications.
This is the reason why no one wanted Sally. It was because of her disease, Sally got rejected multiple times by previous owners. With Crohn’s disease, a dog is hard to potty train because the disease causes inflammation in the intestines and the dog can’t really control their bowels.
Sally had been on different medications in the past, but nothing worked for her until she met Dacey. A simple technique of dietary changes and lots of love and patience changed Sally’s life forever.
Dacey hit upon a meal plan and fixed a specialized diet for Sally over the years. At first, Dacey learnt that Sally was extremely embarrassed and intimidated whenever there was a potty accident inside the house. This could have been due to the mismanagement and negative experience Sally had with her previous owners.
Dacey began by showing her love and affirming that he was with her in this. He offered Sally a positive and safe atmosphere and her health started to improve.
With Dacey’s patience and compassion, Sally and her bowel gradually adjusted to the new diet. Finally, the diet proved to be effective. Now Sally has normal bowel movements just like any other dog and she no longer needs medication.
Currently, Dacey and Sally work with Best Paws Forward Dog Therapy Training Academy.
Though the two haven’t always worked in dog therapy, they make a good pair. At Best Paws they used to do agility competitions and participated in dog shows as well.
Sally is naturally a very intelligent, calm and affectionate dog, so when she first started with agility classes, she passed with flying colors. Each day she just got better until one fine day when she was guiding and helping other dogs go through agility courses and testing and selecting them into the program.
Sally has received a gold medal from the American Kennel Club (AKC) for her remarkable skill and service. She is also a ‘master’ level in Rally-O, a dog sport program based on dog obedience training.
At the end of the event, a very close friend of Dacey’s observed how calm and loving Sally is and how she would be perfect for a dog therapy role. So in the year 2012, Dacey and Sally started training together for Sally to become a therapy dog and Dacey, her handler.
Dacey shares that Sally enjoys dog therapy a lot because she loves all kinds of people – kids, adults, and the elderly.
Today, Dacey and his pet Sally are a part of a team officially called ‘Best Paws Forward’. They visit nursing homes, retirement homes, assisted living facilities, kids’ hospitals and juvenile detention centres.
Dacey and Sally believe that their goal is to help anybody who needs it. They just want to make people happy, and Sally does this by being gentle, affectionate, and extremely adorable.
Sally’s presence soothes patients and they find immense happiness by just petting her. The people who take therapy from Sally would prefer seeing Sally than their humans, said Dacey.
Dacey proudly proclaims that Sally was his inspiration to get into dog therapy. He smiles through his tears and says that Sally sees the good in anyone and she infinitely shows unconditional love.
Sally is great with people and other dogs, and yes, she certified in dog therapy with basic training. But Dacey strongly believes that Sally has this innate desire to make a positive difference in people’s lives. From elderly people living in nursing homes to kids living in rehab facilities, Sally is the dog everyone wants.
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