Mental Health News Radio

Myles the Therapy Dog

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Meet Myles

Myles is a registered therapy dog. Currently Myles works at Haywood Regional Medical Center with the Behavioral Health Unit. He has a weekly group therapy session where he teaches humans how to throw him a ball properly. Myles also works at the library. He helps shorter humans read by staring silently at them with no other humans around. His goal is get them to read out loud for at least ten minutes so they can move on to more important things such as giving him treats and throwing him the ball.

Myles is happy to work anywhere he is invited.

Other places Myles has visited are:

  • Hospitals
  • Libraries
  • Daycare Centers
  • Rehab Centers
  • Schools
  • Nursing Homes
  • Private Homes

His handler, Kristin Walker of everythingEHR, is also invited to speak at colleges and hospitals about the benefits of working with therapy dogs.

An Interview with a Therapy Dog Handler

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We asked the questions our readers have been emailing.   Myles of Smiles is a non-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote the use of therapy dogs within the mental/behavioral health community.

N: When you and Myles are working with kids, does he seem to bond with any certain types of children, for instance children with a mental health issue or children with behavioral disorders etc.? 

K: Great questions. I think all the kids need him just because he is such a positive presence. I always feel like I am delivering flowers. Everyone is happy when the flower delivery person shows up. Myles and I are greeted with smiles, cheers, “thank God you are here”, and lots of hugs.  The other day someone said it was our ministry.  I was surprised by this but I guess it is although no one has put me and the word ministry in the same sentence before.

Yes. These are the kids and adults he bonds with the most. He is very in tune with whatever is going on with their moods. He was well trained with moodiness (he is my dog after all :)) Seriously though, he gravitates towards all kids but if one of them is upset in some way he spends more time with them. He is great with kids that are really shy about reading too.

N: Do the children themselves seem to respond differently toward Myles depending on their health issues? Are there children with specific mental health disorders or behavioral disorders who seem to “need” the therapy with Myles more so than other children? If so, how do they show this to you? Does Myles pick up on this need?

Myles the Therapy Dog: Another Day In Paradise

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Another incredible day! We had a huge group of people mostly on the floor.  Everyone rolled around with Myles.  Everyone got covered in dog slobber and no one cared.  Myles is so cute I can hardly stand it.

First he “notifies” me when it is time to leave for the behavioral health unit at the hospital.  We have been going to this hospital for over 4 years.  It is his FAVORITE place in the universe.  We show up at 3:30pm on Fridays regardless of a holiday.  At about 3pm Myles becomes increasingly anxious and will park himself in front of me.  Being the butler as we call him (because he is so polite) he simply stares at me and waits for me to notice and then looks at the door.  This is my cue to put the laptop down and get his therapy dog vest on him.

He instantly turns into “Myles at work”.  He is very focused.  Typically he stretches out in the car but not on Fridays and not when it is time to work.  He sits straight up and monitors the road on the way to the hospital parking lot.

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