One warm summer day last June, residents of a local assisted living retirement community gathered in their community room eagerly awaiting the arrival of therapy dogs scheduled that afternoon. Irene, a long time resident in her 90’s, with a slight tremor noticeable in her hands and flat expression, entered the room in her wheelchair, the last of the residents to join the group gathering. Louie, a tall standard poodle, with chocolate brown eyes and purposeful air, calmly walks up to Irene’s wheelchair and stands sideways, leaning in her direction, inviting her to touch him. She puts a hand on him and he leans in closer, gently increasing her contact with his soft curly coat. Irene’s movements ease, her hand starts to stroke him, her face relaxes, and Louie turns his head to gaze at her. She smiles, then begins to reminisce about the dog she grew up with as a child recalling with complete clarity every detail of her much beloved family pet and other fond memories. This is the power of a trained therapy dog. This is Louie.
A therapy dogs role is to be “present” to anyone needing comfort or who may just enjoy the feel the warmth and joy a canine friend can bring into any situation. Going through a stressful life event like a divorce can create tremendous emotional strain and bring up a variety of emotional responses such as sadness, anger, confusion, anxiety and uncertainty. It is very common to feel a wide range of emotions. Even after you think your emotions are in check, a visit to a lawyers office for a conference, deposition or mediation may naturally trigger that feeling of anxiety and fear. Scientific studies have shown that heightened emotional state such as anger, fear and anxiety disrupts a persons cognitive ability to effectively communicate, make rational decisions and resolve conflict. The American Heart Association has recognized that the presence of a pet can “relieve stress, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and boost overall happiness and wellbeing”. And that is just what Louie is trained to do – be present for anyone looking for a little stress relief.
Our on-staff canine Louie is here to help! Louie is a Certified Therapy Dog through the Alliance For Therapy Dogs and has been specially trained to provide as needed comfort and companionship to anyone (clients and other lawyers too!) who have an occasion to visit our office. In his spare time away from the office, Louie can be found out in the community visiting residents in retirement homes, children at schools, or at community events. We know that the process of divorce, bankruptcy, or any other legal process can be an extremely stressful life event. Our staff at Nardi & Nardi are here for you and your family, every step of the way!