Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Therapy Dog

I got to take Hoss to school with me last Friday!

Hoss and I worked really hard last year to get him certified as a therapy dog, so he could officially visit schools, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.

The Delta Society has a neat program where they let you take the test first. If you pass it, you can then complete a home study kit and become certified. Hoss and I did spend time training before we took the test, but we didn't want to enroll in formal classes, and I didn't want to waste a lot of money or time on anything if he wasn't going to be able to pass the test.

The test was extremely difficult. It was a series of role-plays with multiple evaluators. For example, Hoss and I had to walk through a crowd of yelling, angry people. Then they intentionally dropped a metal bowl on the tin floor. Through it all, Hoss could display nothing more than "mild curiosity." We even had to pass by other dogs, approach a belligerent woman with a walker that she kept slamming on the ground, and pass by a hamburger toy with scented goodness.

It was so amazing to have him at school. The children were extremely excited to see him, and yet his presence made them much calmer and more grounded. He handled the excessive petting quite well!



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2 comments:

Chica de mente ocurrente said...

whow!! you have change that's dog life so much!!! congratulations to you and hoss!

Tracy said...

I wish I could bring my dog with me to help center my students but my district forbids any mammals (the hair-allergen thing). My VERY needy kids need something and my Beta fish died recently (it lived like 4 years!). I was hoping to have a full-on tank like they have in dentist offices for the calming effect, but district said no due to electricity costs. (Yea, I know rediculous seeing how I'm in 1 of the top 3 wealthiest counties in the country). Anyway.... yeah for you and Hoss!

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