Canine Actor Lands Role of Lifetime in "Interactive Performance Therapy" at New York Area Children's Hospitals and Schools

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Professional canine actor, Winston employs his vast repertoire of talents in Animal Assisted Therapy visits at New York area Children's Hospitals and Schools, adding perspective to the pitfalls that accompany the highly competitive show business industry. During weekly sessions teachers and therapists incorporate Winston's theatrical skills into the rehabilitation of children ranging from toddlers to teens who are coping with chronic and complex illnesses.

It is phenomenal to witness the progress achieved after only one or two sessions of Winston's contribution to the rehabilitation efforts of these kids.

Professional canine actor, Winston employs his vast repertoire of talents in Animal Assisted Therapy visits at New York area Children's Hospitals and Schools, adding perspective to the pitfalls that accompany the highly competitive show business industry. Trainer Theresa Carroll, and her 5-year old terrier mix Winston, spend their days training and auditioning for acting gigs, except for time spent at weekly visits to New York area hospitals and schools. During the visits teachers and therapists use Winston and his theatrical skills as tools in the rehabilitation of children ranging from toddlers to teens who are coping with chronic and complex illnesses.

Traditional use of Animal Assisted Therapy concentrates on providing emotional support to patients through touch. Winston's extraordinary talent and temperament are integrated into the sessions creating an interactive performance type of rehabilitation therapy. Winston's numerous tricks, ranging from sit and rollover to skipping rope and skateboarding, are used by the therapists and teachers to produce enthusiastic reactions and therapeutic improvements in children from toddlers to teens.

Partnering with the therapy professionals, Trainer Theresa Carroll is advised on the areas that need to be addressed during the session. This could be anything from development of verbal and motor skills to simply providing emotional support for the child. Together they agree on which variety of Winston's behaviors or tricks would encourage the child's direct participation and result in therapeutic benefit and, of course, fun.

Motor skills are address by playing a game where the children mimic Winston's tricks or are encouraged to hold hoops as Winston jumps through. Focus on verbal skills is achieved when the children learn and speak commands for different behaviors and tricks. Sessions always end with quiet time just petting and loving Winston. Theresa Carroll states: "It is phenomenal to witness the progress achieved after only one or two sessions of Winston's contribution to the rehabilitation efforts of these kids."

It is no surprise Theresa and her talented terrier headed down a path that includes helping kids diagnosed with chronic and debilitating illnesses. Theresa herself dealt with a chronic illness that kept her in and out of hospitals for most of her youth and as part of a large extended family with more than 30 nieces and nephews, working with children comes naturally.

Theresa instantly realized that Winston was a special dog. His aptitude for learning and performing tricks, combined with unwavering tolerance, patience and love for people, particularly children, uniquely qualified Winston for this ground breaking career path of theatrical therapy.

Trainer Theresa Carroll and her Terrier Mix Winston are Certified Animal Assisted Therapy Partners. Theresa with her trained professional canine actor, Winston have won numerous national and local television and print campaigns, including fashion photo shoots, music videos, commercials and industry promotional events

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Theresa A. Carroll
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