Justine Puliafico discovered her passion in an unexpected place. After winning a dog at a charity auction and taking it to obedience training, Justine and her dog, Wally, worked toward becoming a therapy dog team. For the past five years, they’ve volunteered at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and have supported countless patients, families, staff, and support personnel. Oftentimes, they are used as a distraction for young patients as doctors and nurses consult with families, and sometimes they’re used as a reward for completing tasks such as a physical therapy session or eating a meal. Justine is now the co-founder of Independence Service Dogs Foundation, and she works closely with Nikki Esser of OC Service Dogs who she refers to in our conversation. Nikki has played a central role in helping Justine get involved making a difference through therapy dogs.
In This Episode, You Will Learn:
- How Justine found her passion working with therapy dogs while also operating a 24/7 lighting business with her husband.
- The difference between a therapy dog and a service dog.
- How therapy dogs are helping children and adults who are experiencing life challenges.
- What it takes to train a therapy dog.
- A tangible example of someone who found their passion in an unexpected place.
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