Sunday, June 9, 2013

Therapy Dog Orientation

Today was the  orientation for prospective animal- assisted therapy teams. Chou Chou and I had to be there at 8:45 am. 

If you've read the blog, you might have noticed that I post sometimes at 1 or 2 am. That's when I write best. So I had serious doubts about being able to wake up at 6 am to arrive on time. It wasn't easy -- that's like asking you to drive someplace at 2 am -- but we made it.

I was also worried that we might be eliminated as a team. Going to that other animal-assisted therapy group was so awful that I was not confident, even though I know Chou Chou is a good therapy dog and I know we are a good team. I didn't know if she would stay still for a couple of hours, or fidget, or try to play with the other dogs (which is not permitted). I sat us in a corner, not close to the other dogs. ("But close to that kitchen counter with the cookies on it! I did not jump for them -- I waited for you to give me those tasty treats!") And I learned a lesson from the other pre-screening attempt: I did not bring treats. ("That's so sad! Next time, I'm going for the cookies on the counter!")

There were opportunities to talk with many of the Team Leaders, and Chou was her charming self, nuzzling and cuddling up to anyone who was nearby. Then we watched a slide show about the organization, the guidelines and rules, and some anecdotes from the leaders on what to be careful of when we visit clients. 

It was a two hour presentation and I was so pleased that Chou was lying down like the other 14 dogs, calm and  beautifully behaved! ("I was tired! You woke me up early!") At the end of the presentation, we were signed up for the next step: the evaluation in July.  If we pass ("We will!"), then Chou and I can begin our volunteer visits to libraries and schools. 

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