Certified Therapy Dog
Karma Jefferson, CGUC, THDN
AKC Urban CGC
Therapy Dog Novice
Karma is a rottweiler that came into my life in 2022, during a time that I wasn’t prepared to have a dog. Not because I don’t like dogs, in fact I LOVE DOGS, but earlier that year I had to put down my dog, Curtis, and wasn’t simply ready to open my heart up for dog love yet.
However, we saw Karma and it felt like it was a sign that we could do this again. We were hoping that she would bring some good karma in our household, after we had some really hard times with our last pup.
We adopted Karma through an organization called Magic K9 City in Miami. We have NEVER heard of this organization, but after reading about their process we knew this was the right route for us. Magic K9 City takes dogs, that others would consider unadoptable, and puts them in their training program. Now, this isn’t just any training program. The dog trainers are actually inmates that are going through the transition from prision to back into society. People that would be underestimated, just like the dogs they are training.
After being in this training program for about 4 months, we were ready to come pick her up (and yes, we had to WAIT what felt like FOREVER).
She came into our home and immediately clicked.
After seeing her personality and how she does around others, I immediately knew she would be great to add into my practice as a therapy dog.
CLIENTS BEST SUITED FOR KARMA
As much as I would love to flaunt Karma around the office, I need to ensure that the fit is right. Just like finding the right fit for a therapist is important, animal assisted therapy (aka therapy with an animal) is not for everyone.
For those who may be allergic or fearful of dogs, Karma might not be suited for you. She isn’t hypoallergenic by ANY means, so please let me know if that is a problem and I can schedule you on a date when she won’t be present in the office. If you are fearful of dogs, Karma might not be the best fit. While exposure therapy can be beneficial, and Karma is a pretty chill pup, I want to make sure the office space is a comfortable experience for you. Plus exposure therapy is not an approach I use.
Now … who is suited to work with Karma?
Karma is best suited for clients who are struggling with anxiety and depression, which is one of the main reasons why I want her to be available to my clients. I specialize in working with anxiety and depression and want to be able to provide the best tools (or animals LOL) to help out my clients.
WHY WORK WITH KARMA?
Therapy dogs are specially trained dogs that provide emotional support, comfort, and companionship to people in a variety of settings. Here are some of the benefits of therapy dogs:
Helps clients open up in therapy and allows them to be more vulnerable in the therapy room which helps dictate more effective therapy
Lowers cortisol ("the stress hormone")
Helps release oxytocin, dopamine and seratonin ("the happy hormones")
Decreases blood pressure
Helps foster self-confidence
Improves social skills
Provides sympathy and empathy
Improves the therapeutic relationship
"Therapy dogs are not just dogs, they are four-legged therapists who bring comfort, joy, and unconditional love to those in need." - Unknown
Rottweilers can make great therapy dogs due to their calm and gentle temperament, intelligence, trainability, strength, and affectionate nature. For me, it is important that Karma continuously receives training so that she can be the best she can be in the therapy room.
In addition to continuous training, she also gets regular socialization to make sure she at her best when working.
I do want to note that Karma is NOT a service dog and therefore receives specified training and certification for therapy dogs.
AKC Canine Good Citizen Test
AKC Urban CGC Test
Continued training with Applause Your Paws
Therapy Dog through Canine Assisted Therapy, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions
WHO CAN SEE KARMA?
As long as a client is open to animal-assisted therapy and are a good fit, then Karma is an option for your therapy sessions?
DO I HAVE TO PAY MORE TO HAVE KARMA IN OUR SESSION?
IS KARMA UP TO DATE ON HER VACCINATIONS?
Of course! I keep Karma up to date on all vaccinations to ensure her health and the safety of my clients.
DO I HAVE TO HAVE KARMA IN OUR SESSIONS?
Um… no. LOL. If you aren't interested in having her in our sessions, she doesn't have to be. She only comes to the Coral Springs office on specific days. Therefore, if you aren't interested in adding her to your sessions, let me know when we are scheduling so we can put you on a day when she isn't present in the office.
WILL KARMA BE OFFERED IN THE FORT LAUDERDALE OFFICE?
At some point Karma will be offered in the Fort Lauderdale office. I want to slowly integrate her into sessions and ensure that it isn't too overwhelming for her to be with me every day (even though I would love to have her). I need to ensure her safety and the safety of my clients.
WHAT IS REQUIRED TO HAVE KARMA IN SESSION?
All clients who are a good fit and wish to have Karma in session will have to sign a consent form for her to be present. Just like with regular talk therapy, there are benefits and risks with utilizing a therapy dog. Therefore, extra documentation is needed to ensure you understand and acknowledge the risks and benefits of using a therapy dog.