Name: Dan Serbia, 55
Family: He and his wife, Mary, married 34 years, have one son.
Occupation: Owns a handyman business called Handy Dan
Name of organization: Lehigh Valley Therapy Dogs
Describe what you do at your organization. “We take the therapy dogs mostly to people in hospitals and nursing homes. But they go other places, too. People like seeing them. They pet the dogs and give them hugs.
“My dog, Caesar, has been involved for two years. Another dog, Coco, is currently in training and will soon be able to start visiting. A third dog, Casper, is an agility dog, rather than a therapy dog. He puts on shows and does some tricks for the people in homes.”
What are the benefits of using the therapy dogs? “They get to see and meet people, as well as other dogs. And they love the attention from the people, especially kids.
“For the people, they get some happiness, if only for a brief moment.”
What type of training is required? “A dog must be at least a year old, so Coco will soon be able to go on visits, too. They must pass a handling test and must be observed at three facilities. They must also be up-to-date on all their vaccinations.”
Why and how long have you volunteered? “I became involved with the therapy dogs about two years ago with my dog, Caesar. He loves to make people happy and I thought he would make a good therapy dog.”
Tell us a story about any experiences you may have had with this organization. “My most memorable events are when the Alzheimer patients see the dogs. They are so happy when I come in with one. It may only be for a moment that they remember the dogs, but it makes me happy to see them happy, even though they will forget in a little bit. But they had that moment of joy and happiness.”
How can someone get involved with this group if they want? “They can get information at the Lehigh Valley Therapy Dogs website. Everything is there, including contact information.”
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