Marsha Todd, elementary school counselor and author of the book "Cagney, Professional Therapy Dog," will be at a book signing at The Book Grinder, from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday.
The book is about her therapy dog and counselor assistant of 10 years, Cagney.
Todd and Cagney have collaborated as a therapy dog team serving primarily underprivileged children.
The book has been well received by children, educators and therapists. It is written in Cagney's voice describing her training, work in a school setting and home life.
For her diligent service to children, Cagney was named the 2012 Professional Pet of the Year by the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association, primarily as a result of the letters of recommendation fifth grade students wrote at their school nominating her for the award.
A great deal of research has been conducted about the healing power of pets and therapy dogs. While petting a therapy dog, blood pressures and heart rates have been documented to decrease.
In addition, when interacting with a therapy dog, the brain releases endorphins which increase feelings of happiness and well-being, helping to facilitate the healing process. Professional therapy dogs working in school settings assist students in many ways. They can reinforce positive behaviors, model appropriate social skills, listen to children read, listen to or walk with children who are feeling upset, or engage in therapeutic play sessions with them.
Cagney retired this year.
The book was written to honor her years of service to children and is dedicated to the children she lovingly served.
Todd is a licensed professional counselor, registered play therapist and has received training in Animal Assisted Play Therapy. Cagney is currently training her replacement, another "Golden Girl," Lexi, to "share the love."