The most accepted terms for this field are Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) and Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA). AAT involves
working with someone when a specific goal has been identified. If you do this as a
volunteer, you will work with a professional who will assist you in selecting goals for
different individuals. AAA are those activities designed to strengthen someone's quality
of life. Usually performed by volunteers, they are generally "meet and greet"
Meet Golden Polar
This is Pam's Patton's
story about a special Golden guy named Polar. Be sure to follow his progress and many
adventures through the diary entries below!
Polar came into my life at 7 weeks of age on July
11, 2002. I knew the moment I saw him that I would do everything in my power to help
little bundle of Golden fur get better! He couldn't use his back legs and basically just
laid motionless on the ground! Such a sad sight to see a Golden Retriever puppy not being
able to run around and play chase balls and just have fun, but Polar was different! He was
taken to the main hospital where I work and X-rays and a complete exam couldn't diagnosis
the problem. His owners couldn't afford to complete any more diagnostic work anymore so
they were going to have him euthanized!
I quickly called the rescue organization
that I do Foster care for and told them about the cutest puppy in the world, Polar. They
too were impressed by his story and accepted him into their program on one
conditionthat I take him in as a Foster! Well, I had no problems doing that, and of
course when he came into my house I never imagined the bond that would form between us.
Polar is just the greatest dog I have ever been around. He never complained or chewed
anything and was very easy to housetrain. Honestly, his goal in life has been just to make
people happy. While in my care he went to many different doctors, and had every possible
test done. But, still his problem could not be identified.
So after the last muscle biopsy I decided
that it was enough, and he was going to have to be placed in a forever home the way he was.
I would just need to explain to them that we really don't know his prognosis, etc. So the
hunt was on to find him a forever home to love him and let him fulfill his life's mission!
Once his story got on the Internet there was an outpouring of love and compassion from
people all around the world interested in adopting Polar! It was my job to scan the
incoming applications and do phone interviews of the people to talk to them about Polar's
needs and limitations, etc. I had been with him since July 11th and this was now November
23, so I probably knew him the best!
It was very, very hard for me to even think of him living in another house let alone
ever seeing him again, so I started to wonder if maybe he wasn't already in his forever
home! Well, my husband and I decided along with my parents that he was right where he
needed to be with us. I truly appreciated all the support from the other wonderful people
that were willing to open their homes to him! He will use his talents to help children and
other people that have disabilities see that they really aren't different and to be happy
with what they have!
Polar has added a new dimension in my life
that I didn't even know was there before! I love him with all my heart and will always be
there for him no matter what his life turns out to be! Thank you Polar for letting me be
your mom! To see a
movie clip of Polar receiving hydrotherapy,
Catch all his adventures by clicking below!