MISSOULA- Dogs have long been known as man's best friend but this weekend, Missoula dogs begin their new career, as therapists.
We're working either with a speech therapist, an occupational or a physical therapist," said dog owner Lynn Kruckenberg.
Missoula dogs earned their therapy certification at the pet partner event. Pet Partner instructor Debbie Wing said pets offer comfort people can't.
"They are non-judgmental. They, for the most part, love everybody that loves them and most people feel safe and comforted with that," she said.
And unlike human therapists, dogs will give,
"She's always engaging the person and kind of putting her head or her body in a position where they can pet it," said Chica Diva's owner, Vicki Lee.
Without expecting anything in return. Jass is one of the therapy dogs, and her owner says she is paid in hugs.
"Every time we see a patient I will tell her what a good girl she is and I'll give her a pet," said Kruckenberg.
The personalities of these "dog therapists" differ.
"Her name is Chica Diva because she likes things done in a certain way that's just for her," said Lee.
And so do their "therapy" methods.
"She will always go to the person who is the most stressed. She will be very polite and go visit other people in the room but if she keeps returning to the one person you know they are having a very stressful time," said Lee about Chica Diva.
But they all have the same goal, making people happy.
"She loves people, she loves to make you laugh. She's just a real clown," said Kruckenberg about Jass.
With the Pet Partner certification, now these dogs will be more than companions, they'll be caretakers.
Wing said dogs are not the only animals that make great therapy pets. She has a therapy minature donkey, a minature horse and a therapy cat.