Monday, March 28, 2011

Carolina Canines for Service Offers Pet Therapy Program in Charleston

Photo by Mike Spencer, StarNewsMedi
CHARLESTON, N.C.- Carolina Canines, the organization that conducts the Carolina Canines for Veterans program at the Naval Consolidated Brig Charleston, will begin offering their Carolina Canines for Therapy program in Charleston in April.
There is nothing like the unconditional love and affection from a friendly dog to help you temporarily forget your troubles.  In fact, studies show that human-animal interaction can help lower blood pressure and heart rate and significantly reduce anxiety and stress.
Carolina Canines for Therapy offers owners and their dogs the chance to become certified pet therapy teams to provide animal-assisted visitations in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, group homes and treatment facilities.  Handlers and their dogs complete a comprehensive six-week course, equipping them with the skills necessary for successful therapy visitations within the community.  The dog must be well behaved, well socialized, in good health, able to handle new situations well and enjoys being patted by strangers.  They also know basic commands like sit, down, stay and come, like people and have gentle temperaments.
The Carolina Canines for Therapy program was established in 2002 and has provided training to over 600 teams and certified close to 400.  The program is currently being conducted in Wilmington and Raleigh, North Carolina where certified therapy teams visit over 50 facilities making a difference in people’s lives every day.
Carolina Canines for Service brought the Carolina Canines for Veterans program to Charleston last September and since then has provided over $500,000 in services to service members and veterans who have experienced injuries while serving our country.  “Offering our therapy training program in the Charleston community is a natural expansion and growth of our programs in this community”, says Rick Hairston, President of Carolina Canines.  “The Carolina Canines for Therapy program offers the opportunity for more people to be involved in our organization and give back in the community they live and work in.  The Unitarian Church has graciously opened their doors for us to offer the course in the community.”
The program will begin on April 12, 2011 at the Unitarian Church in Charleston, Gage Hall, 4 Archdale Street and run for six consecutive weeks.  Interested individuals should review the course prerequisites and policy at  The course fee is $145 and pre-registration is required.
            Carolina Canines for Service, with the corporate office located in Wilmington, North Carolina, is a non-profit corporation dedicated to empowering people with disabilities to achieve greater independence. The group trains and places certified service dogs with the help of volunteer foster families and military prisoners training service dogs for veterans, provides pet therapy certification classes and helps children in our community improve their reading skills. Since its inception in 1996, the value of all the programs exceeds $4.0 million in services to our communities. For more information, call (866) 910-3647 or visit

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