Today Show: Sue Halpern & Dog Pransky Volunteer at Nursing Home
The Today Show, as part of Jane Pauley’s Life Reimagined series, interviewed a woman named Sue Halpern about her therapy dog Pransky and the book she wrote called A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home. With her husband gone on business all the time and her daughter just off to college, Sue Halpern had a lot of time on her hands and it was time to re-imagine her life after retirement. But she wasn’t the only one taking a new path in her life. She brought along her dog as well.
Halpern said her dog needed a job to do. She felt since dogs are pack animals and her dog’s pack had been quickly diminishing until it was only her and Sue, she knew they needed to do something new.
“There comes a point in life when you are shaken out of your routine,” said Sue Halpern.
Sue Halpern Trains Pranksy to Be a Therapy Dog
Sue told the Today Show that she wanted to take her dog, Pransky, and turn her into a therapy dog. But that was easier than it sounded. This country dog, who had never been on a leash, needed to pass a test to become a therapy dog. And it wasn’t easy.
“There was no straining the leash, no whining and no barking,” said Halpern of the test Pransky had to get 100 percent on to become a certified therapy dog.
Although Halpern couldn’t see her dog passing she didn’t give up. She taught her dog how to do all the maneuvers she would need to pass the test and when the time came, Halpern had a great idea. She tired her dog out so much, that Pransky didn’t even want to bark when they got to the test.
Pransky passed with flying colors.
Sue Halpern: A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home Review
“It was a lot out of my comfort zone,” said Halpern of the first time they went to the nursing home to volunteer but Pransky was a natural. Halpern said it is exhausting for her dog to always be so aware of what is happening while they volunteer but she is natural therapy dog.
“They are getting this feeling, this feeling of connectedness and this feeling of joy,” said Halpern of the volunteering.
Does Volunteering Increase Life Expectancy?
It isn’t just for the patients either. Studies have shown volunteering can increase life expectancy by four years.
“People who volunteer feel richer, as if they had more money in their pocket,” said Halpern.
Since the duo only volunteer one two hour shift a week, Halpern had time to write a book, A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home.