In the last few months, I have been volunteering for the Guiding Eyes organization, in Patterson, New York, where hundreds of dogs are bred, raised and trained every year to assist handicapped people and police organizations worldwide. My “job” is to socialize six and seven week old Lab and German Shepherd puppies at my home in Larchmont for about a week at a time.
This socialization consists of holding them, loving them, teaching them some basic skills such as climbing stairs, and introducing them to new sights, sounds and people. After a week with a pair of these young pups, I return them to their “campus” in Paterson for further training, and if I am so inclined, pick up two or three more 6 week old pups to take home. For dog lovers, it doesn’t get any better than this – endless puppy love.
In my experience, this is without question the most affordable form of therapy available. While you are receiving endless puppy kisses, or laughing hysterically at them as they playfully roll around with their brother or sister, or watching them fall asleep like newborn babies in your lap – you are actually doing something helpful for others.