Prime: the Therapy Dog Whose Heart is Even Bigger than He Is

One of the most exciting components of being at AKC Meet the Breeds is, of course, getting face time with a variety of different dogs. But beyond being cute, many of the dogs there also have touching stories about how they impact their communities and brighten the lives of others. One such dog that we met while on-site was Prime, a Rottweiler who is larger than life—not only when it comes to his size, but even more so when it comes to his heart.

We got a chance to catch up with his owner and learn more about his temperament and the very special and important job that he has that spreads joy to so many.

AKC: So tell us about this beautiful Rottweiler and what he does!
Julie McKeever: This is Prime, he’s Woodrott’s More than Meets the Eye. He’s a certified therapy dog, he goes to Fox Chase Cancer Center every week and he goes around and visits all of the patients before they get chemo and for doctor’s appointments, and he also visits the staff. The staff enjoys him as much as the patients do. Usually we can’t by the nurse’s station—that’s where we stop first! (Laughs)

What does he do when he’s there? Is he mostly just a calming influence?
He’s a calming influence, people pet him, a lot of people talk about dogs they’ve owned in the past and the good memories [they had with them]. He’s a really great source of conversation and people are very interested in the fact that he’s a Rottweiler. A lot of people have different opinions on Rottweilers, and they’re shocked when they see a therapy dog that’s a Rottweiler. And there’s actually a lot of them!

What’s another component of your therapy work with Prime?
A lot of what we do when we do therapy work is educate people about the breed. For me, that’s a huge part of what we do.

So what would you say is important to know when it comes to the Rottweiler as a breed?
That they’re not a breed for everyone, but when you do your research and find a good breeder or a reputable rescue, you can certainly find a dog that works for you and your family. And they are busy! They’re a working dog. And a therapy dog may not look like a lot of work, but it is work. You have to want to do things with your dog—your Rottweiler doesn’t want to be outside by himself. They are family dogs and want to be with you all the time.

Does Prime have characteristics in particular that make him a great therapy dog?
He’s so tolerant, so patient. He just truly enjoys people and attention. A lot of people say to me, “What did you do to train him to be a therapy dog?” and I don’t think dogs can be trained to be therapy dogs—they’re just born like that. You can’t teach them temperament. He loves other dogs, he loves children. He loves everybody and everything!

Way to go, Prime! We thank you for giving back so gallantly to your community. To learn more about how your dog can earn the AKC Therapy Dog title, click here. And if you think a Rottie might be the right fit for your family, make sure you check out AKC Marketplace to pick your perfect puppy.

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