Danny and I have been doing all of this pet therapy for a layer of reasons. We love training together, showing off dog tricks, and making others smile and feel comforted, but the roots for this project? It is for my Girl Scout Gold Award! I’ve just been informed (through a comment on this blog, actually) that through all of my endeavors, I’ve received the Gold Award!! I’m so pumped and I know Dannyboy is too!
Although I’m at college now, Danny and I are gonna try to do pet therapy when I come home for the holidays!!
Thanks everyone! Don’t go anywhere!
My therapy dog Danny and I recently visited Care One in a town not too far away. Care One facilities are probably our favorite since everyone is always so welcoming! The staff ADORE pet therapy visits and there is always one staff member who takes us around the facility. The residents and their visiting family members scoop Danny right up (luckily he doesn’t mind) and cuddle him or put him on their laps. Unlike Merry Heart, when we visit Care One we go room-to-room. We don’t meet in a common room or two and usually there is no show-down of all his fancy tricks, but somehow there’s extra love in each visit. Or so I think. I’d ask Danny how he feels, but he’s just as happy licking every stranger’s face.
Pet therapy bound! (Notice the nifty bandana?)
Also, even more recently, Dannydog and I went to Merry Heart again. As usual we visited the third floor Alzheimer’s unit first and then the other meeting area for residents who aren’t as sick. Upstairs we were greeted by a staff member who cuddled Danny for a bit. Then I went around the circle letting everybody who wanted to pet the dog. Quick aside–One of the ladies told me I had nice teeth :D. Anyway, this time downstairs there was a nice crowd. Naturally, Danny performed all of his fancy tricks–including hide-and-seek of a mini water bottle! <– crowd favorite.
I have a feeling this might be our last visit for a while as school starts up again soon however, Danny and I will still be doing everything we can to spread smiles and raise awareness for dogs that heal!
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!
Why am I writing this blog? That’s easy. I want to share my experiences as I train my dog, pass our therapy dog test, and visit facilities.
I’m trying to get as much traffic as I can so that others will be inspired by me and my dog and will want to promote some dog therapy of their own! Spread the smiles, spread the idea. Nobody’s more loving than man’s best friend!