Therapy where the patients help to train Assistance Dogs
Heidi Bonoroto, founder of Giving Retriever, offers goal-based treatment interventions for children and young adults suffering from a variety of challenges. Therapy sessions, during which participants help to train Assistance Dogs for permanent placement, are facilitated by a Canine-Integrated Therapy Provider and a licensed clinician or therapist.
Bonoroto, a local mother and certified Service Dog Training Instructor, previously participated in the Warrior Transition Brigade rehabilitation team at the National Military Medical Center at Walter Reed. As a child, she became personally attuned to the therapeutic benefits of canine companionship. “Training my dog fostered my feelings of confidence and self-worth,” Bonoroto says. “It became a dynamic treatment modality.”
Years later, working in Walter Reed’s Wounded Warrior program, she witnessed the dramatic effects of trained service dogs working with war veterans. She was inspired to found Giving Retriever, LLC (givingretriever.com). Participants are grouped based upon their established therapy goals, physical ability, and emotional age, engaging in progressive activities designed to build cognitive, social, speech, and motor skills while simultaneously training an Assistance Dog. Sessions are conducted at Sensory Stepping Stones at 83 S. Bedford Rd., Mount Kisco, NY.