ESX to welcome Paws and Think therapy dogs to showroom floor

Well, well, well … looks like we finally know “who let the dogs out!”
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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS—Back in July of 2000, Baha Men released the song “Who Let the Dogs Out?” that quickly climbed the charts to reach a spot on the Top 40 list in the United States. Since that time, approximately 19 years, when people hear this song, they are still left to wonder who actually DID let the dogs out. Well, looks like SSN has “sniffed out” and discovered the answer! The responsible party? ESX! 

At ESX 2019 in Indy on Tuesday, June 4th, 4pm to 5pm, and Wednesday June 5th, 2pm to 3pm, Paws and Think’s therapy dog teams will be on the expo floor at booth #221 to meet, greet and love on integrators and monitoring professionals from across the country. This is a great way to beat the blues of missing your own fur friend back home or meet a new four-legged friend. 

“We wanted to have another fun activity on the expo floor to unite attendees,” George De Marco, ESX chairman, told SSN, “and we wanted that activity to show a fresh perspective on what security means to people. Therapy dogs are a great help to many people, as are electronic security systems. In addition, so many people are passionate about animals—it tied in well with our theme of #PassionateSecurity.” 

Paws and Think is a nonprofit, Indiana-based organization, founded in 2001 by Gayle Hutchens, R.N., M.S.N., who knew she had to make a career change after her husband was diagnosed with a serious illness. She was drawn to working with kids, animals or healing, so after seeing Oprah give Bonnie Bergin, founder of Canine Companions for Independence and the Assistant Dog Institute, the “Use Your Life Award,” Hutchens contacted Bergin and asked if she could intern with her. And, the rest is a history to howl about! 

Kelsey Burton, executive director, Paws and Think, told SSN about their crisis response team, Paws to Comfort, giving the following example of how their therapy dogs help people: “There was a school shooting in our community and as a part of the Indiana Crisis Action Response Team, we came with our Paws to Comfort team and it was just amazing to see how the children and teachers had a sense of relaxation, safety and comfort.” 

And, this is exactly what therapy dogs do: they present themselves in a situation, usually a traumatic event, and let people know it’s going to be okay. “You can talk to a [therapy] dog, and he or she is not going to say anything; it’s just another being that’s safe and wants to love on people.” 

It’s important to know that a “therapy” dog is not a “service” dog. Burton explained that a therapy dog is someone’s pet who has trained with that pet and registered with an organization to be able to go out and work a couple of hours a day simply loving on and being around people. A service dog is trained to help a person who has a specific disability and works only with that person. “That’s why out in the community when you see a service dog their vests will say something like, ‘Working dog. Dog do not pet’ whereas our vests say ‘Please pet’ or ‘Please pet me!’ That’s why therapy dogs are so cool! They are able to interact with strangers, and they lean into them and are letting people cry into their fur … they don’t care who you are; they just want to love on you.”

Therapy dogs go through training, have to be fluent in basic obedience and of course, love all people. Service dogs; however, go through an insane amount of training to be able to perform the tasks their person needs, but some service dogs “flunk out of service school and it’s usually because they love people, so they make awesome therapy dogs,” Burton said. “They are trainable, but they want to be with all people too much.”

Both the security industry and therapy dogs are in the business of helping people feel and be safe and secure. After an unfortunate event has taken place, such as a shooting or a fire, therapy dogs come to soothe and comfort people where as “the security industry is more proactive in securing people, places and things before an intrusion, robbery or fire happens,” said De Marco. “These dogs have their work cut out for them. They are friendly, easy-going and encouraged to interact with people. Many of the people these dogs work with have suffered trauma and for some reason can’t be consoled in quite the same way by another person. Often, it’s as simple as the dog sitting near and letting the [traumatized] person talk. There’s just something about dogs that’s comforting, and I think there’s a reason they’re called ‘man’s best friend.’”

Burton said that of all the places Paws and Think therapy dogs go, all the people are in need of comfort and to feel like it’s going to be okay. “It’s really special to see that and it’s so special that we have these amazing, magical creatures [dogs] that are able to do that. They are happy doing this; they love being around people; and they love getting attention. They roll over on the floor and want belly rubs. It’s just a special kind of dog.” 

To meet these incredible dogs and their amazing humans, De Marco encourages all ESX participants to add booth #221 to their busy ESX schedule. “The dogs welcome the attention as they love to do their job! Not to mention, it’s free therapy!” a win-win for everyone.

Because Paws and Think is a non-profit organization, please consider donating, volunteering and support them on social media: