EAGLE RIVER - Sometimes the best medicine doesn't come from a doctor, but a good friend- or a furry friend. Research tells us therapy dogs can improve our mood, and our health.
"That's a natural therapy dog, wanting to give love... The dogs are certified because they love people and they love to give love," said Nicole Belmore, owner of Northern Wisconsin Canine Center, and a trained Evaluator for Therapy Dogs International.
The playful expression often on Dare's face brings joy to many nursing home patients. But he does even more; his friendly affection actually improves their health.
"Research has shown that it actually lowers blood pressure... Those who can't have pets anymore or even remember when they had a pet, it gets them up into bed a lot of them will get out of bed when they see the therapy dog, or they know a therapy dog is down the hallway, they want to come see the therapy dog. So it brings them a sense of joy," said Belmore.
Belmore sees a great need for more dogs like Dare in the Northwoods. However, the closest place to get certified WAS hundreds of miles away. Then Belmore became an evaluator in Eagle River. Now she can put your dog to the test.
"There are several tests we need to give. They need to sit on command, they need to lie down on command…They need to be able to walk on a loose leash," she said.
And then, they need to pass the biggest challenge of all....
"We have to have a bowl of food or a plate of food on the ground and the dog has to walk over the food without touching it."
Think your dog is up to the test? Belmore offers training classes and several certification tests each year.
RHINELANDER - Nineteen months ago, 10 police agencies surrounded the Tripoli home of Kenneth Welsh.
Police say Welsh caused a three-hour standoff, threatened to blow up his house, and threatened to kill his wife.
Later in court, he was convicted of two felonies and sentenced to three years in prison by Oneida County Judge Michael Bloom.
But now, those convictions and prison sentence have been erased. This month, while in prison, Welsh argued he didn't fully understand all the elements of one of the crimes to which he pleaded no contest, first-degree recklessly endangering safety. Welsh's motion put some of the blame on his defense attorney, Rod Streicher.
RHINELANDER - A number of Rhinelander police and firefighters will work a weekend morning shift in December and won't get paid for it. It's an extra task they're happy to help with.
The Rhinelander Police Department's Shop With a Cop program returns December 16. Police and firefighters take 20 third grade students from Crescent, Pelican, Zion, and Nativity schools shopping for Christmas presents at Walmart. The schools recommend students for the event.
RHINELANDER - This holiday season, you might want to tell your child to hug family members at holiday gatherings.
The Girls Scouts of the USA hopes you won't. The organization is saying daughters don't owe anyone physical affection, and that the expectation of hugs and kisses could have bad aftereffects later in life.
"I think for some people, it is a new concept," said Melissa K., the domestic violence coordinator at Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual assault, which is based in Rhinelander.
In a post, the Girl Scouts of the USA told parents their daughters don't "owe anyone a hug. Not even at the holidays."
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