Sunday, September 28, 2008

New Therapy Dog

Some of you may remember my post from last Sunday regarding the therapy dog orientation. This week was the follow-up meeting where all the prospective therapy dog teams were tested. Friday afternoon, I took the boys to a couple of agility demos at local nursing homes. Romeo did so well, that I started thinking that maybe I should see what he would do in a therapy dog test. The SJA head office in Regina closed at 4:30pm on Friday, so when I got home at 4:15-ish I sent an e-mail straight off to them. I was thinking that if they got back to me before closing time on Friday, then it was a sign that I should test him. If not, then no big deal, I would just test him later on or next year. Well, sure enough, the lady in charge must have checked her e-mails just before leaving for home for the weekend. She sent over the forms that I would need to fill out, saying that because all the "hard" paperwork was filed for Gio, I only had a few little things to do for Romeo. All things that I could fax in to them at a later date.

So there we were, ready to test!

The test itself is made up of 13 parts, each being done in a sequential order, starting with something "easy" and ending with the more difficult tests. The tests are designed to simulate situations that would be encountered in any normal visitation. So all sorts of people, rough handling, loud screaming or quiet whispers, dealing with mobility devices like wheelchairs and walkers, loud clanging noises, people running past, and large groups of people crowding in on the dog. The test is not designed to be easy, because these dogs will be required to get up close and person with people that may be quite frail. They need assurance that the dog will react calmly and appropriately in any situation.

Romeo took it all like a champ and walked out of there with great praise from the evaluators.

I'm absolutely beaming! Now TWO therapy dogs in the house! My boys make me so proud!

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