THE MENTOR VISIT

Danny and I completed our final step in the Creature Comfort Pet Therapy certification process—the mentor visit! 

This morning I got up and got everything together for our very first visit. I put a towel, paper towels, a water bottle, a doggie water bowl, treats, hand sanitizer, and a doggie brush in a large tote bag with a copy of his vaccination records. I bought some Nature’s Miracle spray in case Danny made a mess (which he didn’t, of course).

We met an experienced CCPT handler at the door to Merry Heart Senior Living so that she could mentor me on my first therapy visit. We signed in and went to the “Bistro” gathering space downstairs where about a dozen seniors–most in wheelchairs–were hanging out. Some were even playing Wii bowling on the TV! I scooped Danny up and we went from wheelchair to wheelchair (unless the patient was avoiding us) and I bent down next to each patient and even let Danny sit on one lady’s lap!

Upstairs, we went to the Alzheimer’s floor where the seniors have memory problems. There were about two dozen patients up here and some were sleeping and most repeated their questions to me a few times, which was kind of sad. But it made them all very happy and we’re spreading some smiles quite easily!

My arms are tired from holding Danny for almost an hour, even though he’s only ten pounds! 

My mom said the nursing home was very lucky to have Danny to pet and me to talk to (: Oh, and now Danny and I can do visits on our own to accredited facilities!

Thanks for reading, and spread the word of how helpful therapy dogs are!

Creature Comfort Orientation

Hi everyone! Hope you’ve had a great day! 

Today, 1/14/14, I left school at about 11:30 and drove to Morris K9 Campus where Creature Comfort Pet Therapy was giving an orientation workshop to those who have just passed the evaluation last week. I would say there were about eight other new-handlers like myself there. After a 70 minute powerpoint presentation on the do’s and don’t’s of what to bring, how to sign up, how to conduct ourselves, confidentiality, and other rules and regulations, it was time to sign up for our mentor visit.

What is a mentor visit? It’s when an experienced dog-handler team shows you and your dog HOW to do a therapy visit at any registered facility. Because of my “one condition,” only the handler, not the dog, will be accompanying Danny and me. I believe we are going to a senior assisted living place nearby either this Saturday or two Saturdays from now, but the company will email me with that information.

I’m really excited because I know it’s going to be really fun, especially at a place where Danny can show off his box of tricks!

Thanks for reading, check back soon 🙂

De-TAILS !

The-tails of our evaluation last Tuesday, 1/7, go like this:

   Following my last post, Danny and I filled out our paperwork and entered the obedience ring. The room was empty except for a section in the back which was fenced off for the evaluations. I was the last one of the day, and there was a lady with her yellow lab (who had just failed the test) sitting on a chair in this area. Also with her were the people from the pet therapy company, Creature Comfort.  There was a black lab on a leash next to a man, two women, and another man. Another lady was clearly running the evaluations and the other lady was her superior, being more of a guide and observer. There was even a little Because-of-Winn-Dixie dog in a fenced in play pen. This all was very unexpected and made Danny a bit antsy. 

He took a few times to seem to hear my commands, but the evaluator let me do a few re-dos because he did most of the tasks well. There were three other dogs and he isn’t really dog friendly (just the way he was raised in his previous home, never got socialized with other dogs so now he wants to play but ends up growling and occasionally lunging). Good thing he’s a PEOPLE therapy dog! 

The evaluators new of these issues with Danny and purposely told me they wanted to see how bad he really is…which really any dog could have been much worse, and it definetely helped that he had attended obedience classes (in that room, I might add) because he was able to deal with other dogs and zone them out when he wants to. They debated amongst themselves over whether he should be passed or not..they didn’t even circle numbers on the rubric..it all came down to this problem he was given to me with. 

The decision: They applauded me for being a good handler and knowing my dog’s limits, signs of stress, and how to handle him in general. Then, they said he wasn’t focused on the other dogs in the room ONLY, like the yellow lab who had just failed. He approached the “noisy crowd” of evaluators comfortably and lovingly, which demonstrated that he had no issues whatsoever of nervousness, anxiety, shyness, stress, anger, or anything with people, purely dogs. And so they passed us! On one condition…we must not do visits with another dog-handler team and our mentor visit where they really show me and Danny the ropes will be with a mentor handler not a mentor dog-handler team.

 

Ta-da! CONGRATS DANNY, WE’RE ALMOST THERE!

RESULTS

Today, Tuesday, 1/7, at 1:30pm Danny and I had our pet therapy evaluation. For those of you who don’t know, we’re trying to get certified through Creature Comfort to be a pet therapy dog-handler team and visit patients, families, and staff of all ages at hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and other facilities to spread some smiles!

Our test got postponed a few times, but today I drove myself out of school, got home, grabbed Dannyboy’s vet and town vaccination records (and Danny, of course!) and raced to K9 Campus (where we’ve been taking obedience classes). We haven’t been there in over a month, so I was nervous that Danny would forget his manners. Fortunately, he didn’t.

I had to fill out a few forms but there was a dog in the waiting room, which Danny doesn’t like. So I cleverly took the forms and filled them out in the car with my dog, which my obedience trainer Robin was very proud to hear I did. After I was finished, I carried Danny back inside and went into the training ring.

I’ll save the details for later, long story short, WE PASSED OUR EVALUATION!