Therapy dog handler Mary Watson uses her three gentle giants, English Mastiffs Micah, Pebbles and Murphy Brown to provide healing pet therapy for children in need.
Eye On The Mastiff Breed
Mary Watson, Therapy Dog Handler
Hi! I’m Mary Watson and I’m a therapy dog handler for three beautiful English Mastiffs. With my gentle giants, Micah, Pebbles and Downtown Murphy Brown, we serve healing pet therapy to abused, abandoned and at-risk children through an Arizona non-profit organization called Gabriel’s Angels. We also work with a local police department for crisis intervention.
I’ve been involved in pet therapy over 7 years after I attended a breakfast/fundraiser for Gabriel’s Angels with my husband. There, I learned the miracles worked by therapy dogs on these “throwaway children”. We left in tears and with a resolve to be a part. My husband firmly announced that we HAD to do this!
How on earth did I get here? Having lost our first English Mastiff, Bentley, we went on the hunt for the healthiest, sweetest puppy on the planet and found Micah. My husband flew from Arizona to Indiana to meet the little guy who promptly climbed up next to him and kissed his face. That would be a “yes”. Micah flew home and we started his training immediately. Puppy socialization, basic obedience, advanced obedience, the Canine Good Citizen test and certification and on to Therapy Dog Prep and his final Therapy Dog test through Pet Partners where he received the highest rating possible.
Since that time, we added three more mastiffs, two who are therapy dogs and a beautiful rescue, Nala who needs therapy. About a year of positive reinforcement training went into each dog along with intense socialization.
I learned quickly that these dogs need to be somewhat “bullet-proof”, able to safely interact with a newborn, a traumatized child, fragile seniors, veterans and people with all manner of disabilities, both mental and physical.
My dogs and I have now appeared before thousands of people, attended a multitude of stage events, been filmed for commercials, appeared in many publications and most importantly, helped to begin the healing process with hundreds of at-risk children, ending the cycle of violence and instilling core behaviors.
Interested in becoming part of the Therapy Dog family and don't know where to start? Mary has agreed to help you become a Pet Consultant. Email Mary Watson with your questions and she will be delighted to share what she's learned to help you bring more healing to a very troubled world. For more articles by Mary, visit her blog: https://monsterdogz.wordpress.com/