Meet Blaze: Children’s Therapy Center Facility Dog

I’m Blaze, a good boy who works at the Children’s Therapy Center. My two favorite activities are chasing tennis balls and helping kids.

Blaze the MU Children’s Therapy Center Facility Dog
Blaze, MU Children’s Therapy Center Facility Dog

As a facility dog, I come to the Children’s Therapy Center every weekday just like my human coworkers. A sign at the front desk will tell you if I am free to lend a paw during a therapy session. I love to go for walks, so I can help with tasks like gait training, and I’m great at turning on toys by bonking the switches with my nose. I also can wait patiently for a session to end and make myself available for petting and hugs as a reward for a job well done.

I received special training for two years — that’s equal to 14 years for you humans — at Duo Dogs in St. Louis, where I learned to be gentle and follow commands. I’ll admit I can’t read, but I’m told research shows that animal-assisted therapy can help kids in many ways, including motivating them to reach goals and making clinic visits feel more normal and less stressful.

A generous gift from Gary and Missy Pinkel’s GP M.A.D.E Foundation supports my upkeep, so I never run out of nutritious food or tennis balls. In my free time, I let my fur down and enjoy acting silly like any other dog. But when it’s time to work, I put on my blue vest and get serious about helping kids who are going through a rough time.

Get to Know Blaze

  • Birthday: Feb. 26, 2019.
  • Breed: Labrador retriever.
  • Favorite treat: Peanut butter.
  • Likes: Walks, hugs and snuggles.
  • Pet peeve: Getting my nails trimmed.
  • Favorite TV show: Mizzou football games.
  • Favorite colors: Black and gold.
  • Hobbies: Fetch, hide-and-seek and switch-adapted toys.
  • Favorite toy: Tennis balls.
  • Lunch hour activities: Running around in the fresh air on the playground and taking naps.
  • Weekend plans: Playing soccer in the backyard.