Vandy and Faith are trained Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) dogs. They work full-time on the Mary Free Bed Recreational Therapy team. The dogs at Mary Free Bed come to work to restore hope and freedom through rehabilitation just like our humans do.
Animal-assisted therapy engages patients of all ages and abilities in a range of therapeutic settings. Both of our sweet-natured pups work with recreational therapists to help patients meet specific rehabilitation goals. Their presence alone can lift spirits.
Being an AAT dog is hard work! It takes a lot of time and training. Before joining the Mary Free Bed team, Vandy and Faith trained at Paws With A Cause® for two years (that’s 14 in dog years!).
And humans need training, too! Therapy sessions with our dogs are directed by a recreational (rec) therapist. Our rec therapists receive intensive training to learn how to work with the dogs and best help Mary Free Bed patients.
Depending on your goals, rec therapists might also collaborate with a physical, occupational or speech therapist.
Vandy and Faith are here to motivate patients to achieve specific rehabilitation goals during therapy sessions. They’re also experts in simulating pet care tasks. They help people practice caring for their pets when they return to their home and community. Patients see physical, emotional and cognitive benefits from working with our Animal-Assisted Therapy dogs.
Vandy lives with her primary handler and spends her free time going for walks in the neighborhood, playing in the yard and relaxing.
Faith lives with her primary handler and spends her free time visiting her family farm house in the country and playing fetch with a tennis ball.
Vandy and Faith come to Mary Free Bed from Paws With A Cause (PAWS), a national non-profit organization based in Wayland, Michigan. Both dogs spent two years of intense training to become certified AAT dogs. Vandy was the first-ever AAT dog trained by PAWS.