Meet Toby, another therapy dog lucky enough to be adopted from a rescue center. When Frank saw Toby on the website, he knew he just had to bring him into his home. He drove to South Carolina for him, and together they have entered the world of helping others.
Toby is a Lhasa Apso and terrier mix. Lhasas are uniquely described as “joyful and mischievous, dignified and aloof.” The breed originated hundreds of years ago in the Himalayan Mountains where it served primarily guarding homes of Tibetan nobility and Buddhist monasteries. The first Lhasas came to the United States as gifts from the 13th Dalai Lama. Lhasa Apsos thrive living with adults or families with older children. They come in many colors, from light blonde to black, and the black tipping on Toby’s ears and face is common to the breed.
There are many breeds of terriers, but they are typically known to be feisty and energetic. Originally bred to hunt and kill vermin, today most terriers are kept as companion dogs and family pets. They are generally loyal and affectionate. Toby exhibits the best of all breeds.
People smile seeing Toby, the
hunter/killer/guard dog on duty!
Toby has lived with Frank since 2006, and they enjoy a special calling. Toby is a pet therapy dog at Broughton State Psychiatric Hospital in Morganton, North Carolina. They have other pet therapy dogs there at the hospital that live on Broughton’s farm, but Toby is the only therapy dog that lives off the grounds. Once in a while they go to the different wards and classes, but Toby usually just works in the library.
Seriously, reading is good for you.
Toby likes to sit with the patients, but Frank noticed he likes it best when they play with him. Toby seems to have an innate understanding of a patient’s needs. Sometimes he will be up on the sofa with a patient and the patient will just be talking away with him and petting him.
Frank and Toby take a break
between visiting patients
In the entire hospital, Frank says there are only two patients who are either afraid of him or they just don’t like dogs. When one of them comes in with a group, Toby stays behind the counter with Frank so they don’t have any trouble. It’s important to be extra careful in that type of atmosphere, because a normally docile patient might suddenly have a very strong negative reaction.