Sign In

Therapeutic Healing

June 15, 2020

Molly Jean Schantz, OTR/L and dog trainer is combining her Occupational Therapy practice with her dog training skills to bring Assistance Dog Training to the community. Molly is offering Assistance Dog Training to anyone with a physical or mental impairment where the dog can be of assistance to the handler. Molly works primarily with the client/handlers to teach them how to train their dogs to meet their personal needs and goals. Dogs can be trained for: mobility, balance, picking items up off the floor, turning on and off lights, carrying or holding items, seizure alert, deep pressure therapy, crowd control, waking a handler up as an alarm, opening and closing doors, assisting with activities of daily living such as making the bed or opening the fridge for an amputee as well as for companionship and safety, for example, assisting an individual with anxiety to leave the house.

Molly lost her mother to suicide in June of 2014, and shortly after, she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the pain and anxiety that haunted her since she was the one to find her mother. Through the pain she endured, she found her Silver Lining: Gunner, her PTSD service dog. Instead of falling into a deep hole after this tragedy, she took care of herself and structured her environment in such a way that it provided her with all the ingredients that inoculate against situational depression. By training her own service dog, she was provided with daily structure, responsibility for another, meaning, and a source of positive reinforcement and love. Molly says, “The most important thing that I did after the loss of my Mom was to get a companion to help me deal with my emotions. By training my puppy to become a PTSD service dog, I created tasks for myself that required self-discipline, such as training, walking, and feeding schedules, while providing myself with structure as well as a source of joy.”

Since then, Molly has been on a journey to learn how to train these four-legged companions and now it is time to give back what was given to her. Molly’s background is in mental health with a BA in psychology and a Master’s in Occupational Therapy, she strives to help individuals lead purposeful and meaningful lives following trauma or disability. Molly utilizes a unique perspective and provides client-centered occupation-based interventions enabling her clients to maximize their potential and lead independent and meaningful lives. This strengthens the human-animal bond and is more cost effective than buying an already trained assistance animal. Assistance dogs include, but are not limited to, Service dogs, Emotional support Animals (ESA) and Home Helpmates. If you do not qualify for an assistance dog, she will also be offering private basic obedience lessons and classes for anyone looking to strengthen the bond with his or her canine companion.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, Service Animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. The dog must be specially trained to assist the handler with something directly related to his or her disability.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Former Victoria man’s diabetic alert dog helps him get back to life

    When Luke Hengen’s diabetes worsened in his early twenties, it stripped him of the outdoor activities where the country kid felt at home. Countless wilderness adventures and years of hard-fought football games took a toll on his body, to the point where he could no longer sense when his blood sugar was too high or […]

    Read more

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more