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Pet Partners tests and Windsor Hall callout

by Kyler Laird last modified 2009-01-27 16:59

four new Pet Partners teams and great Purdue potential

date: 2009-01-25 (4658 days ago)

dogs: Aries, Dexter, Dobky, Sarge/Bob/Calder

I was out late last night providing technical support for a concert and then spent a long time at the kennel letting out some client/friend dogs. I'd considered bathing and doing some last-minute training of Dobky and Dexter before their tests today but I decided sleep was more important.

After church (and a carry-in) I had plenty of time to go home and let the dogs play as much as they wanted. I returned to church with Dexter and Dobky for the Delta Society Pet Partners testing sponsored by Caring Paws. I was happy to run into Amy and Tanner who had gone first and, of course, passed! (Yea!)  I'm excited to have them as part of Caring Paws.  Amy has been integral to LTDR and has done an outstanding job of fostering Bozo the Malabrute.

When it was time to test with Dexter I realized I needed to hand off Dobky to Kitty, who was in a meeting. After a quick jog through the church I was back to test with Dexter. He was so social! I think he thoroughly greeted all of the volunteers and they were all very patient and kind to him. This was an immense help to us as we settled into the test. Dexter did alright during the test and I was especially pleased with how well he followed my lead. Although it was slow compared to other dogs, I even felt good about his "down," something that had concerned me. The most challenging part of the test was meeting the volunteer with the neutral dog. We did it twice and I realized during the first pass that it wasn't the dog who had his interest; he wanted to greet the volunteer! I really stayed on top of him the second time and he narrowly passed.

I got to rest a bit while Allison tested with Keowee. It's been awhile since I tested with Keowee but I was confident that he'd do well for Allison. I heard from a volunteer that he was very attentive to her. She has given him much-needed attention.  They passed!

Dobky and I were the last team of the day. I've learned to love Dobky's slow, controlled movement and thought it would serve us well in the test but I worried that he might simply freeze and blow one of the exercises. Indeed, he was a joy to handle but he zoned out for awhile as I tried to get him to "down" and then he was enjoying getting patted by a volunteer so much that at first he ignored my "come" command. It took a few tries but I was amazingly relieved when he finally rose and ambled over to me. Whew - another pass!

We returned home and I caught a quick nap on the couch with Dobky curled in a ball against my legs. I didn't want to move but I was excited about the callout we had at Purdue's Windsor Hall. Kitty and I took Dexter, Dobky and Bob to Windsor at 6:30. We arrived right behind Waynetta and Stan who had Maddie Bea and Aries. Amy followed soon and we were escorted inside. Bob was the most energetic so I took him and Kitty took Dobky. That left Dexter for Amy, who I thought was a good match for him. I brought up the rear of the group and heard a commotion as I entered the building. It was Dexter - he wasn't handling the slick floors and stairs well. I grabbed his lead and pulled him alongside Bob. He came along but it was obviously a challenge for him.

Downstairs, we gathered in a large room and our hosts cleared some tables and arranged a lot of chairs (20?) for the presentation. I wasn't expecting to see all of the chairs filled but the students just kept coming and soon spilled out into another section of seating. It was a great crowd! Not only were there many students but they were all wonderful with the dogs and very engaging, showing great interest in the dogs.

I rambled on about therapy dogs and University Place for about 30(?) minutes and afterward we again got to meet many of the students as they enjoyed the dogs and spoke with us about their interest in volunteer opportunities. This was an impressive group. I'm looking forward to working with them.

After the presentation we took our dogs home and met Amy, Waynetta and Stan for dinner. I got a couple e-mail messages about volunteer opportunities as we spoke about how exciting it was to work with these students. We have a lot to learn but we see great possibilities in this program.

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