Today, I have a sweet pup to introduce you to. That is, if you don’t know him already! Scout the Golden Retriever has been filling my heart for years, even though I’ve never met him! Isn’t it incredible how dogs can do that?! I hope Scout warms your heart today and that you find extra encouragement from what he’s doing. Be sure to give Scout a follow, and be sure to show them some love on Instagram! They deserve it for all they do for their community.
Introduce yourself! Tell us who you are and what you do.
Hi! My name is Melissa Heinonen, I am a photographer/former nurse living in Portland, Oregon. My dog’s name is Scout! He’s a three year old golden retriever who is a therapy dog and giver of “free hugs!”
How long have you been a therapy dog?
Scout has been a therapy dog for almost two years. His cortisol-reducing duties frequently include visits to nursing homes, senior living facilities, and colleges for stress relief clinics, but our favorite pastime is wandering around the city streets giving hugs to passersby!
How did you get stared “passing out” hugs in Portland?
Scout has been a gentle, calm, and loving dog since he was a youngster. He loves attention and I noticed he appeared to have an ability to sense which people seemed to be in need of some extra love or a reason to smile. During our adventures out and about, people would often ask if they could approach him to say “hello,” so I decided to put the sign on him to let the world know that he indeed was always open to their love and affection.
What is the most special moment you’ve had doing therapy work?
One of the most special moments and life changing connections to come out of our “free hugs” and therapy work has been our blossoming friendship with a homeless man we have befriended. His name is Tennessee, he has lived on the streets of Portland for almost four years. We have grown very fond of him, visit him often, and his connection to Scout warms my heart.
If you could share one thing with our readers, what would it be?
If I could share one thing with you, it would be to live with an open heart, learn from your dogs, live with an unconditional, nonjudgemental mindset, and try your best to bring a smile to someones face every single day. By making others happy, I have found true happiness within myself. I thank Scout for this!
Where can the DailyBarker community connect with you?
You can find us on Instagram @scoutgoldenretriever. If you have any questions about therapy work or need some #ScoutHugs, please send us a DM!
Do you know a dog that is doing good in your community (or beyond)? We want to hear about them! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with their name, what they do, and their Instagram handle.
Let’s all take a note from Scout and go pass out a hug to someone! 🙂 Have a great day!