Monthly Archives: October 2013

Good Therapy Dog

I hated retirement.  I began to forget why I retired in the first place.  It wasn’t that the job was my life, I liked it well enough, but I had lost my focus without it.

I have several dogs and I love them all and I love spending time with them but, Tug, my yellow lab is different.  I took him to several training classes, quite a few in fact.  We went to group classes and individual classes.  Tug is a very fast learner, and I knew that he would make a wonderful therapy dog so I wanted him to have all the socialization and different experiences that he could get.  Finally, everyone who had worked with us said that he was ready to take the Canine Good Citizen test.  I was scared.  What if we failed?  If we did, it would be my fault.  Tug had his second birthday in May, training was completed, but still I put it off. 

Jon started the Open Group for Bedlam Farm and I began reading the posts and looking at the pictures.  Ah Ha!  Inspiration and and a kick in the butt!  A yellow lab, Hunter, passed his CGC at four months of age.  I called my trainer and made an appointment for the CGC test that very week.  Tug passed with flying colors and we started therapy training the following week.

I thought it would be easy to find a facility where we could work with Tug but that was not the case.  The Veterans Hospital had a waiting list of therapy teams, and the local hospitals would be glad for us to come if the dog was already trained but we couldn’t train him at their facilities.  Our wonderful veterinarian directed us to a new nursing/rehab center and it turned out to be perfect and it is five minutes from home.

I quickly found out that this work can be very intense and emotionally draining for both the handler and the dog.  The first few sessions were tough and forty five minutes is usually enough.  Tug and I have made lots of friends there.  I wish I could take pictures but photography is prohibited due to privacy.  Tug has now completed his training and we are just waiting for his vest and badge to arrive.  Meanwhile our trainer has blessed us to be on our own.

This is something I have wanted to do for an awfully long time and now I think that I can look forward to a more rewarding retirement.