Therapy puppy in training, “Dude” has joined the Glade Run Adventures Team! Dude is a Vizsla, a breed dubbed as the “velcro dogs” for their desire to be close to people. Broodstock for Weimaraners, the breeds are very similar, and both have unusually soulful and expressive eyes. Known for their high levels of affection and ease of training, Vizslas are consistently rated as excellent therapy dogs. Dude’s super short (and super soft) hair coat also makes him as close to hypoallergenic as a dog can get without actually being hypoallergenic. The added benefit of not having your pants covered in dog hair with all the snuggles he gives is great too.
Dude is owned by Julie Wahlenmayer, the Director of Adventures, so that he has a loving and consistent home to keep him well trained for therapeutic interactions. At the moment, he’s in Zelienople twice a week, learning how to behave in large groups of children, around animals, in gardens, and generally providing brief mental health visits for staff across campus. As his learning increases, his time on campus will also increase and eventually, after therapy dog certification, Dude will be available for off campus visits and programs.
We are very excited to have a therapy dog joining as a member of our team to help provide a wide array of experiences and interventions for everyone associated with the Adventures Program. Benefits of canine assisted therapy are vast, including everything from lessening depression and anxiety to encouraging communication and socialization. Dude’s availability and involvement in Adventures has already provided an abundance of opportunities to discuss therapeutic topics with students and summer campers as well provided a lot of light hearted laughter at his puppy antics!
We’ll be sure to keep you updated on Dude’s growth and change as he learns new skills and meets new folks. As with all babies, it will undoubtedly be a fast and bumpy road, full of romps and zonks. He will grow to be about 70 pounds by his first birthday, so be sure to stop by and see him while he’s still small so you can say, “I knew him when…”!
Glade Run Adventures provides personalized experiences in nature, including horseback riding lessons, guided trail rides, animal care classes, gardening classes, farm to table cooking experiences and nature themed arts and crafts. These activities are prefect for families, school groups, and youth groups. Glade Run Adventures is conveniently located north of Pittsburgh in Zelienople, just minutes from route 79 and Cranberry Township.
About the Author
Julie Wahlenmayer, Director of Adventures
Julie has been with Glade Run since 1996, shortly after graduating from Slippery Rock University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies. Her experiences in animal and horticultural assisted therapies at Glade Run lead Julie to complete her Master’s Degree in Counseling at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Julie’s desire to connect individuals with the natural world around them, combined with her equestrian training and love of gardening, helped to shape our Adventures Program into the exemplary program that it is today. Julie’s vision for Glade Run Adventures is for it to become a model for social, emotional and physical growth and learning.