“Charles”, the K&FT Therapy Dog


Meet Charles
The Therapy Dog at Kids & Families Together!

Charles is an AKC (American Kennel Club) certified Canine Good Citizen. Charles has passed the required temperament evaluations, received the proper training, and has been a certified therapy dog through Love on a Leash since November, 2017.

A therapy dog is different from a service dog. Service dogs are trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. A therapy dog’s job is to bring comfort and joy to those in need. Charles loves making new friends and helping them feel comfortable sharing their stories with him. He lets people know how special he thinks they are and how loved they are; sometimes people forget this. Charles is very social and affectionate and is a great co-therapist!

Charles’ Story

I was adopted by my parents on Easter in 2016 when I was just eight weeks old. When my parents brought me home, everything was new and different. I was a little scared and really missed my birth mom. My parents took really good care of me, and quickly I learned how much they love me, so I started to relax, feel safe, and trust them.

Mom and dad took me to puppy kindergarten and taught me how to sit, lie down, stay, and have good manners. We went to school together for a really long time. It wasn’t always easy, and I made a lot of mistakes along the way. Sometimes it was hard to behave when I just wanted to run and jump and play! My mom helped me calm down when I was having a hard time. In May 2017, I passed my Canine Good Citizen test and then went on 10 supervised visits to practice and learn more about being a therapy dog. I got to cuddle and play with grandmas and grandpas. I had so much fun! Now I am a certified therapy dog! I was so proud of myself and so were my Mom and Dad. We worked really hard together.

My parents stayed in touch with my birth family, so I still get to see my birth mom and grandma occasionally, and my mom sends pictures back and forth with them. My parents know how important it is to me to stay in contact with my birth family so I know where I come from. I love both of my families so much!

Come stop by the office and say hi sometime–I love meeting new people, and I can’t wait to meet YOU!

FAQ’s about Charles!

What breed is he? Bernese Mountain Dog

Do all Bernese Mountain Dogs look like him? Yes. They all have this same coloring; however, most have a little more white on their paws and the tip of their tails (Charles only has 3-4 white hairs on his tail).

How much does he weigh? 115 lbs.

What’s his birthday? February 3, 2016

How many brothers and sisters does he have? Charles’ litter had six boys and four girls

What are his parents names? Charles’ mom’s name is Shay, and dad’s name is Zodiac. His maternal grandmother’s name is River.

Where is he from? Charles was born in Laguna Hills and raised in Ventura.

Does he shed? YES!

Does he drool? Not much. Unless you stick some food in his face!

What does he like to do for fun? Cuddle, go for hikes, play at the beach, get belly rubs, take naps, give high fives, play tug-of-war, and make new friends.

Does he eat a lot? He eats about 3 cups of food a day.

Will he bite me? Never. If you are playing with a toy with him, he may accidently put his mouth on your hand, but will let go immediately when he realizes his mistake.

What tricks/commands does he know? Sit, down, here, drop, leave it, stay, wait, back up, high five, and always learning more!

If you are interested in learning more about Animal-Assisted Therapy, please see the following resources:

Love on a Leash
Canine Good Citizen Test
Difference between Service Dogs, Therapy dogs, and Emotional Support Animals

The following guidelines have been created to ensure Charles’ welfare:
Ethical Guidelines for Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) with Charles:
  1. Dogs, like people, have their own moods that determine their level of desire to interact with others. They are also very susceptible to taking on the emotions of humans they are with. Therefore, it is understood that Charles is allowed to determine if and when he participates in therapy and interacts with others. While it may be planned to have him in session, he will never be forced to do so.
  2. If at any time Charles shows signs of stress, he will be allowed to take a break. This may mean stopping the interaction and letting him rest or leaving the session altogether. His handler will determine whether it is appropriate for Charles to return to session or not. Sometimes dogs get over-stimulated and dysregulated just like people do!
  3. Charles has his own quiet space in his office where he can rest, sleep, or just be left alone. He should not be disturbed when he is in this area. It’s important to ask Charles’ permission before interacting with him. If his tail isn’t wagging and he isn’t getting up to greet you, he is tired and doesn’t wish to engage at the moment. Please respect his decision.
  4. Charles should always be treated gently. He should never be treated in any way that is uncomfortable to him.
  5. Sessions will be no longer than one hour and Charles will be allowed to take water breaks as needed. Charles can work off leash as long as the client agrees.