Walking for therapy dogs | VailDaily.com

Walking for therapy dogs

Scott N. Miller

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Kait and John Seyal are walking across America this year with some of their best friends.

The Seyals left Delaware in March with dogs Gracie and Max in tow to help raise awareness about the importance of therapy dogs. As opposed to service dogs, which help the blind and people with other disabilities, therapy dogs are usually brought into hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities to brighten the days of patients and residents.

The Seyals, who were in the Vail Valley recently, believe in that work, since therapy dogs can ease stress and speed healing. They also believe in rescuing dogs whenever possible – Max and Grace are both rescue dogs.

So the couple came up with the idea of a cross-country walk to support the work of therapy dogs everywhere.

The Seyals, Grace and Max hoofed it all the way to the Mississippi River, where they met friend Jon Slater, who’s been driving the support vehicle ever since. That’s been great news for the dogs, who have been able to ride, not walk, across the nation’s Midwest in a record-hot summer.

“But we’re walking every mile,” John said.

Recommended Stories For You

The couple has been following U.S. Highway 6 across most of the country, stopping at nursing homes, hospitals and children’s homes along the way.

“The kids seem to really relate to these dogs,” Kait said. “They know what it’s like to be not wanted.”

In Western Colorado, the group has visits scheduled at Veterans Administration facilities in Rifle and Grand Junction.

They also picked up a new member of the team in Iowa, a stray that decided to follow them on their journey.

The Seyals have funded most of the trip themselves but are welcoming donations. Once travel expenses are covered, those donations will go to the charity they’re supporting, Pawsibilities Unleashed, which trains both therapy dogs and service dogs.

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or smiller@vaildaily.com.