September 22, 2016
Without getting all braggy, we’ve been told multiple times that Zuma would have a lot to offer as a Therapy Dog. We didn’t know all the guidelines so off to Google we galloped!
With her gigantic gangly spider legs and smiling face, Zuma makes friends wherever she goes; she is the most humble of dogs, she brings smiles to everyone without ever stepping out of her honest personality.
We fleetingly wondered if perhaps she may make a good Service Dog but we didn’t know the requirements. We explored both possibilities on line. Briefly, Therapy dogs are social, friendly, soothing to the soul of those who seek comfort and companionship. Service dogs are trained to do certain tasks to assist in their owner’s quality of daily life. They must not be petted by strangers, they must remain on task.
Well, that was a No-Brainer! Iwouldn’t want Zu to alter her personality.Ms. Socialite here is insulted if we have to pass by fun people, she wants to hang out with everyone who is interesting. I can just hear her: “TASK? What TASK? I didn’t sign up for tasks, I’m here to meet cool people”. She would have gone home with this boy!
We signed up for an assessment with a highly respected dog trainer here, Kim Brophey, owner and trainer at The Dog Door in Asheville.
We went to Kim for the assessment. We’d read some literature she’d provided when we signed up and, after the first sentence, Doug, Zuma and I knew Zuma is a Therapy candidate. Kim agreed. We talked dogs. Kim’s goal is to make Asheville the most dog-friendly city in America! How fantastic!
Kim explained the Therapy Test to us. Zuma can pass all the requirements and Kim doesn’t feel Zu needs any major training but we’ve been brushing up on a couple of things I tend to slack off about. Down, stay? “Do I really have to hoist this body up four storeys for your amusement?”
Next, we registered with Pet Partners.
I took the written Handler Course and Handler Test on line. People, I passed this even though it was T\F and multiple choice! Iiiii know! OMG! Pop the champagne! The next step is to pass the Team Evaluation with a Tester and have Zuma health checked by a Veterinarian and then we can start visiting people.
Our goal is to spend some casual time with people in Senior Residences, Nursing Homes, Hospitals, etc. We met a girl here who told us she takes her Therapy Dog to funerals, that families often request a Therapy Dog to attend, to comfort. A dog takes one’s mind off sadness and petting a dog is proven to lower blood pressure and calm people. A dog can retrieve memories of happier times and bring a smile to a sorrowful face. I think the people we visit will enjoy this Scooby-Doo humble guest. Zuma will love having a job.
I’ll keep ya’ll posted about our Team Assessment test!
For more info on Therapy Dogs, contact Pet.Partners.com
Don’t forget to check out the September 15th blog:
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