EVERY­ONE’S BEST FRIEND

Milwaukee Health - - PULSE PETS - - TOM TOLAN

MEET LUXE, a 10-year-old Rot­tweiler with a job to do. Ac­com­pa­nied by her owner, Carol Raasch, Luxe is a reg­u­lar visi­tor at the Heal­ing Cen­ter, a Milwaukee treat­ment fa­cil­ity for peo­ple suf­fer­ing from trauma. The pair also visit grade schools, nurs­ing homes, hos­pices and monthly Scout nights at the Wis­con­sin Hu­mane So­ci­ety.

Qual­i­ties such as obe­di­ence, flex­i­bil­ity, com­fort with be­ing han­dled and abil­ity to adapt to dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions, noises and peo­ple are of prime im­por­tance for ther­apy dogs. Luxe, who trained with Health Heel­ers, a lo­cal busi­ness run by Laura Hey, and is a na­tion­ally reg­is­tered ther­apy an­i­mal, has all the right stuff: “She loves go­ing places, loves meet­ing peo­ple, she’s open for any­thing,” Raasch says. Hey has 50 ther­apy an­i­mal teams, and the first word she uses to de­scribe Luxe is “calm.”

Luxe is also pop­u­lar in Raasch’s Glen­dale neigh­bor­hood. Neigh­bors who don’t have dogs keep treats on hand for her. But when it’s time for ther­apy busi­ness, Luxe doesn’t mess around. Raasch says she has a spe­cial har­ness that Luxe wears on vis­its. “When I get that out, she’s on point. She’s alert and ready to go.” Raasch pauses for a bit and then says: “Dogs are spe­cial peo­ple.”

CALM: Ther­apy dog Luxe’s defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic

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