This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)
Now it’s off to the field!
The dog is said to be man’s best friend. Not everyone feels that way, because some people are afraid of dogs.
That in turn can be very damaging, especially in a dog-rich city like Berlin. There are people, who avoid jogging or even walking out of fear for the fact that they could encounter a dog that crosses their way.
The physician and psychotherapist Dr. Samia Little Elk can offer assistance if you are suffering from a fear of dogs.
Not infrequently, the fear of dogs has something to do with a bad experience but also with difficulty in interpreting the language of dogs. Samia Little Elk used to be scared of dogs herself. Today she understands much better how to interpret the language of dogs, so that it is much easier for her to appreciate and understand them.
You too can learn that… And this is most easily accomplished with a therapeutic dog who can be judiciously and safely assessed in dealing with you.
Muffin has been living with Samia Little Elk since she was a puppy. She was well socialized from the beginning and learned the rules of conduct in practice in the first few weeks of her life.
Muffin is a Golden Retriever from a so-called tier 2 breed. That means she is a mix of a Goldie from the working line and the show line. Characteristically, the working line has certainly prevailed mostly with her. She is very intelligent and wants to be mentally challenged but also wants to keep physically busy. That’s why she enjoys therapy sessions, but they are also real work for her. She needs to empathize and think and focus on the doctor and the patient.
For further exercise the doctor takes the dog every morning before the office hours to meadows, fields, lakes (Retrievers love to swim) or to the woods. Muffin regularly meets other dogs to play, retrieves dummies and looks for items or hidden treats. A dog’s life can be sooooooo good! 🙂
This way she does not strike when someone walks into the practice, nor does she bark or jump on people, and she is generally very obedient.
Muffin is not very often in the practice. And when she is there, she stays mostly in her specially assigned rooms. Outside of them she only moves at Dr Little Elk’s commands and always stays at her heel.
This information is important for people with fear of dog attacks, because a free-roaming dog in the practice would in many cases lead to them not even entering the practice. We do not want that. That’s why we treat the subject so carefully and respectfully.
The animal-assisted therapy sessions will take place only after a detailed preliminary discussion in the practice (usually without the dog, unless otherwise agreed). In the preliminary talk, the doctor and therapist get to know each other first and discuss the patient’s concerns.
Especially for people with fear of dogs, it may make sense to perform one or two ‘dry exercises’ without a dog in the practice before the encounter with muffin, which prepares the patient to meet the dog peacefully and cautiously.
Therapy session with Muffin
The therapy session with Muffin, like every “normal” therapy session, lasts 50 minutes and usually takes place outside in the open air.
In nature, everything is free; especially people who are afraid of dogs feel less trapped this way. You can choose places where you usually do not meet other dogs and their owners.
For Muffin, such a therapy session is as much work as it is for the doctor herself, since it requires empathy and concentration. Therefore, please understand that the dog’s availability is limited. Therefore, it may take some time to schedule and appointment with her.
Ultimately, however, only a relaxed and mentally balanced dog delivers the benefit of therapy. Dr Little Elk would not approve it any other way.
Like all other treatments in our practice, the statutory health insurance does not cover the costs.
If you are privately insured, it remains to be determined if and to what extent animal-based therapy will be reimbursed.
Please discuss the costs during your initial contact with us. The assistants are happy to advise you. The costs depend on the complexity and effort of the treatment.
In general, however, treatment with a dog, especially outside the practice, is significantly more complex than a ‘normal’ therapy session, so that the costs are also higher and most likely would at least partially have to be borne by yourself.