Bucks County therapy dog provides virtual comfort during pandemic

Therapy dog
Photo credit Bob Wharton
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — We could all benefit from a little therapy dog company while isolated during the coronavirus pandemic. 

But Jackson, an 8-year-old golden retriever therapy dog for the Angel on a Leash organization, hasn’t been able to make his usual rounds to elderly care facilities and elementary schools. 

Instead, his owner, Bob Wharton of Yardley, decided to make virtual visits. 

“(Jackson) is loved in all of these places,” said Wharton, “how can I do something to keep him out there for the people? Because he does bring comfort to the people, and they like seeing him and so forth, and there are benefits to it.” 

Wharton hosts online therapy sessions with Jackson through photos, video conferencing, and pre-recorded messages for kids and elderly.

“We send videos and we send pictures and we do things with the videos where we do some tricks or we do some obedience type things,” he added.

Wharton even wrote and illustrated a children’s book about Jackson, which was sent home to elementary schoolers to read with their families while quarantined.

Wharton and Jackson were recently recognized by the American Kennel Club for his efforts during the pandemic and awarded the 2020 Paw of Courage.