By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Therapy dog training orientation Aug. 17
TherapyDogsASK 0336
Therapy dog handler Laura Francis hugs two of her Golden Retrievers she has trained to give a share of happiness to shut-ins throughout the Manteca community. - photo by GLENN KAHL/ The Bulletin
 “Paws 4 Friends,” affiliated with the national Therapy Dogs, Inc., has set an orientation for those interested in working outside the box with therapy dogs that are trained to visit shut-ins in retirement centers and skilled nursing facilities.

Dog lovers who want to learn how to make a difference with their pets in someone’s life may attend the orientation at the Manteca Library at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 17.

The Manteca group has four members currently, all with Golden Retrievers, under the direction of trainer Laura Francis.  Manteca area residents interested in working with their dogs in the community will be told how the four-week-long training will evolve.

Laura’s two dogs, Abby and Fisher, are quick to grab a senior’s heart.  Abby has been taught to say her prayers on the edge of a bed.  On cue she puts both of her paws on the spread in front of her while sitting on the floor at the side of the bed.  Abby drops her head down between her front legs on command in the appearance of prayer – quite impressive.

“Paws 4 Friends,” is currently working with children in the Give Every Child a Chance program in the READ program.  While the Manteca group has all Goldens, therapy dogs have represented other breeds including Pomerians and even Bull Dogs.

The therapy dogs have been taken to residential homes in Stockton, Lodi, Tracy and Vacaville.  They are currently working in nursing homes, memory care facilities and the Hospice program.  There is no charge for their service.

To be part of “Paws 4 Friends” members are required to make a visit to a retirement facility with their therapy dog at least once each month.  Those interested may learn more on Facebook or email the club at Paws4Friends @