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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Lacey the Therapy Dog Helps Provide Emotional Support

Story and photos by Catherine Barde

Lacey pictured with Skyler, Kiona and Sorel Bath
Thea Wasche and her Assisted Therapy K-09 “Lacey” visited the American Red Cross shelter opened in Monument, CO to provide emotional support to families displaced by Colorado’s largest wildfire leaving almost 500 families homeless.

“She is wonderful! She just leaned on me!” squealed one of the many children staying at the shelter. Thea and Lacey walk around and visit with the families. Sometimes the interaction can be as quick as a rub on Lacey’s head and other times, it is as profound as someone who just lost their pet in the fire clinging onto Lacey, crying. “Oftentimes children don’t know what to make of such tragedy and while petting Lacey, they may ask questions or get a moment of comfort and distraction. People open up in ways around Lacey that allow for the healing process to begin,” says Thea.

Thea and Lacey worked tirelessly during the Waldo Canyon Fire, almost one year ago in Colorado Springs. They serve with Ft. Carson’s Evans  Army Hospital Chapter of the American Red Cross in Colorado Springs. The duo works with the Wounded Warriors and also assists patients with less-obvious injuries such as Post Tramatic Stress Disorder as well as trauma and anxiety from natural disasters such as wildfires.

Brook Cramer, age 9, with her mother Shelly
play with Lacey. At right: Thea Wasche, handler
Lacey is a Registered Therapy Dog with Delta Pet Partners, American Humane as well as the American Red Cross.  Lacey has been a registered therapy dog since 2008 and the duo have been volunteers for the American Red Cross for 4 years.  The team has donated more than 400 hours each year providing animal assisted therapy to over 3,900 military and civilian personnel.

In her professional career, Thea is a 30 year employee with the Department of Defense  and currently serves as the Deputy Commander for the Force Support Squadron at Schriever AFB, Colorado.

1 comment:

  1. I bring a therapy dog into my dental office. Man, how people love it. It really helps people relax in that less than desired environment, especially children. Check out Molly, our therapy dog at www.applewoodfamilydental.com

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