BROOKVILLE — A Brookville couple has found their passion working with therapy dogs and traveling the area with them to make people smile.
Donna and Gary Fye travel the area with their Labradors and bring smiles to the faces of those who visit with them. They have had several generations of dogs train to become therapy dogs with them, all Labradors. They found a love for Labradors about 20 years ago when they got their first one.
“They’re a wonderful breed for both kids and adults,” Donna Fye said.
Gary Fye has had dogs all of his life. The couple had dogs long before they ever thought of having them certified as therapy dogs. They didn’t even know that possibility existed at first.
They went to their first training class at the Clarion Canine Obedience Club, and fell in love with it. They have two dogs currently certified, along with one who is retired from traveling as a therapy dog, and one in training.
Dogs have to be at least a year old before they can be certified, so they’ve been working with their newest puppy until he is old enough to be certified too.
“We have one now that’s four and a half months old, and he’s already been tested and passed as a Canine Good Citizen,” Gary Fye said. “That’s very unusual for that age, but we have to wait until he’s a year to get him certified.”
They travel within about a 20 mile radius around Brookville with their dogs to different places like schools, nursing homes, and small vendor fairs like the Senior Expo in Punxsutawney.
“We go into the schools, and we have one dog that has learned to read,” Donna Fye said.
He will read action words, and do the actions like “sit” and “lay down.” This goes over well with kindergarten classes, because they are just learning to read as well, according to Donna. They also take the dogs in, and the children will read to the dogs, because it calms them to read in front of other people.
The Fyes have met a lot of people through their travels with their dogs. They enjoy all the places they bring them to.
“These kids just make us laugh, we just sit there and laugh and listen to their stories,” Donna said about going to Clarion University with the dogs.