In general, humans and dogs are known for developing close connections. University City Children’s Center (UCCC) and Lume Institute employees like Amy von der Heydt work to break down walls of distrust in children through the use of gentle dogs like therapy dog Molly.
Therapy dogs provide comfort and an outlet to develop trust and empathy, particularly after someone has been hurt. Von der Heydt said, “Children who’ve been hurt by adults don’t trust adults, but all children and human beings can connect with gentle dogs.”
Studies reveal the use of therapy dogs with children who have been hurt by adults have increased levels of trust and empathy as well as see as positive emotional growth. By using her therapy dog Molly, Von der Heydt is able to bridge the emotional gap, find ways to become more approachable and build loving and trusting relationships with the children.
Social worker Amy von der Heydt along with her therapy dog Molly join us for more on the benefits of using therapy dogs with children.