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Maizie the Therapy Dog’s Special Effect on Boys Town Central Florida Youth

Buster and Tisa Wible with Maizie at the Christmas Tree Lighting

Maizie the therapy ​dog brightens up youth at Boys Town Central Florida’s shelter. Always cheery with her tail wagging, youth excitedly run towards her when she arrives every week.

Buster and Tisa Wible first brought little Maizie home from the breeder at nine-weeks-old. A Goldendoodle, she is a cross-breed/hybrid dog obtained by breeding a golden retriever with a poodle. Now five-years-old, Maizie never ceases to amaze her owners. “We knew she would be excellent as a therapy dog,” said the couple. “Her loving personality was obvious right away so we had our minds set from the beginning that this was something she should try.”

Initially the Wibles thought that the visits revolved around the youth playing games with Maizie, but what they observed was that often the youth wanted to just hold and talk to her. “They seem to crave non-judgmental, puppy love,” explained Buster. “Basically, it's about them having a furry friend who comes to visit every week. With so many youths and only one dog, we try to make sure everyone has some one-on-one time with her!”

The smiles and squeals when youth see Maizie show the significant impact she has. “We have seen amazing transformations, where shy or un-responsive youth become talkative and outgoing. We provide a guest book for the kids to sign each time we visit. Interestingly, some write messages explaining how much they love her. We've seen youths that were afraid of dogs at the beginning of the session, change to holding her on their lap and hugging her by the end of the session!”

The youth enjoy their time tremendously with her and of course Maizie loves all the attention! Maizie and the Wibles were awarded the Community Support Partner award at the annual Christmas Tree Lighting. “With her dedication every week with our youth, helping them cope and being a healing beacon in their life is our honor,” said Aleundro McCray, Director of Intervention and Assessment, Boys Town Central Florida. “Thank you Maizie!”