Did you know that pet visits often spark good memories of a person's own pets? Dogs often can reach people and children who have withdrawn from the world. It's been suggested by science that petting a dog can lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and stress, and promote healing.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Therapy Dogs Inc.
Here is the process I have worked out following the TDInc. requirements as well as my own personal goals with Cayman:
1. Work with Cayman following the CGC handbook. Although not all tests in the CGC are required, the more training he can receive the better.
2. Sometime around January, fill out the Volunteer Application for Healthpark Medical Center. From there I will have to attend a three hour orientation and complete a two step Tuberculosis (TB) Test and purchase the necessary shirt identifying me as a hospital volunteer.
3. After the Volunteer process, and sometime soon after Cayman's first birthday, have a CGC evaluator test him for his CGC certification.
4. Meanwhile, as long as Cayman is over a year old, I can take him to Healthpark and begin his testing as a therapy dog. Basically he is going to be evaluated by the Coordinator while interacting with the patients. He must pass three observations within a 6 month period to be considered for TDInc.
5. After three successful observations, the Coordinator signs a form which I mail off with my membership fee, which I think is $25. He is then considered a real therapy dog and will recieve a special heart shaped ID tag that goes on his collar that proudly states "I Am A Therapy Dog".
6. I will probably pursue the Delta Society as well since they have the R.E.A.D program at our local libraries. Since he will have already received his CGC certification, all I would need to do it apply to Delta Society and get evaluated by them as well. But this is an afterthought, we are focusing on TDInc.
I have already ordered a special custom bandanna that is blue with yellow lettering on it that says "Therapy Dog In Training" with Cayman's name down one side (where the bandanna comes to a point) and "Ask To Pet" down the other side of the point. This is good for when we are out and about socializing and training him to get strangers to see what we are doing and to get them to ask to pet him which only reinforces everything we are trying to train him for the CGC and TDInc requirements. The more friendly stangers he can be exposed to the better. I ordered it sometime last week so it maybe a little while before it comes. Since its all custom embroidery work, I understand I have to be patient- even if it is so hard since I am so excited to begin taking him out wearing it! Keep checking back as you know I will have pictures posted!
Speaking of exposure, Sunday I took both Cayman and Zoey to the doggy park. We were there for 5 hours!!! It was such a nice day and everyone (dogs and owners) were so friendly and the dogs were having so much fun, I just couldn't leave. My friend Alicia, who was also the trainer for the Puppy Education Class that Cayman graduated from at Petco, came too with her corgi, Kiwi. She is working with Kiwi to do therapy work too. What made the day even better was that there was a gentleman on crutches there. Exposure to people in wheelchairs, crutches, and canes is especcially important since therapy dogs are exposed to them all the time in a hospital setting. Cayman paid them no attention which is good since some dogs are fearful or will bark at such an unusual sight. It gave me even more confidence that Cayman will do well as a therapy dog. And he interacted so well with the other dogs, another plus!