Thankful for Therapy Dog Vivian!

With our graduation from Therapy Dog Class and passing of the Canine Good Citizen test, Vivian and her pal Chloe were ready to take on their first Therapy Dog assignment!  On the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving, Vivian and Chloe made their debut at the Warroad Senior Living Center!   I put together a little program talking about Therapy Dogs and how they are trained and what to expect when Vivian and Chloe visit.  Then it was on to visiting with the residents.  How much fun we had!  To see the faces light up when the dogs came near them, and to hear the stories of their dogs over the years was really neat.

While Chloe stayed in the big room with Jayne and about 15 residents, Vivian and I headed to a couple of rooms where the residents couldn’t get out.  Our first visit was with a woman who was losing her vision, but she loved petting Vivian.   She couldn’t get over how soft and curly Viv’s hair was!   Her friend was visiting and he said he always called her “Poodle Hair” because she had such curly hair, and told her that Vivian looked so much like her, and was as beautiful as she was!   You gotta love a smooth talking gentleman!

Off to my friend Elaine’s mom’s room, where Vivian not only enjoyed the petting but did try to steal a Beanie Baby Bear.  The “leave it” command worked, but she did look back at it longingly as we left.  She is 18 months old; you can only be on your best behavior for so long!

Visiting Tillie!


Back to the big room, where Chloe joined us for a quick trip through the memory care unit.  Chloe has a special lead that allows the resident to “walk” her, without Jayne giving up control of the dog, so Chloe got walked around the memory care unit by one very happy resident.   It was a great afternoon and we are looking forward to beginning our visits next Saturday. 


As I look back on the last year I am thankful for so many things; Greg, the dogs, our health and our families and continued employment in these tough times.  I am also thankful that I decided to blog about bringing Vivian into our lives because it was through the blog and our mutual love of our pups that I became friends with my colleague Jayne and we decided to train our dogs for this work together.  This has been my goal since the day we brought Vivian home, but it really is more fun doing it with someone else.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Canine Good Citizen!

October 4, 2012

We are under a “Winter Snow Storm Watch”, which probably means that fall is officially over.   I am not sure what the snowstorm on October 4th was called, an “Autumn Snow Storm Watch?”   It is cold and blustery outside and I am looking forward to a quiet weekend in the house with my pups, my husband and my fireplace.  Time to relax after a fairly eventful fall season! 

We retired the hose and the dog’s pool and Greg went about setting out the flax straw over the sewer system and well.  It gets cold here so we need a little more insulation over those pipes if we don’t want things to freeze.  Vivian likes the flax staw as it is fun to jump, or I should say soar over!   Her favorite trick is to grab a stick, run from Greg and Ike and go flying around the house and over the flax fence at full speed!  After a scare a few weeks ago, I was delighted to see her do just that again this week.

We did have a scare three weeks ago.  Vivian had an acute onset of pancreatitis, and was a very weak and sick puppy.   After an emergency trip to the Vet, who by the way is 90 miles away, and several days of hand feeding and forcing fluids she finally perked up.  It was a scary time and if I didn’t know it before, I know it now, this little girl pup has found her way into Greg, Ike and my hearts; it is not just her name, she really has stolen our hearts!  

Her illness interrupted our big fall event;  Vivian and I have been going to Therapy Dog class!  I have been wanting to volunteer at our local Senior Living Center, but needed to get Vivian some training.  Happily my friend Jayne and her pup Chloe also wanted to do this, and Jayne found a class that was being held in Bemidji MN on Thursday night.  The rub is that Bemidji is a 2.5 hour drive from Warroad, but Jayne is a hockey mom and up here two and a half hour drives one way are nothing to the hockey mom set!  So we signed the pups up and headed off every Thursday night to class!  Did I mention earlier that we had a snowstorm on October 4th?  Sure enough the second week of class it was cancelled due to snow, you gotta love Minnesota! 

Cruising to Therapy Dog Class

Vivian was a good student, except during the lecture portion.  During lectures she would vocalize a little bit and I swear, if she could have, she would have been passing Chloe notes!  But all in all the girls did pretty well at class and the dogs did even better!   Unfortunately due to Viv’s illness she missed two classes; but did get back for the last one.  Even missing the classes she passed the class test, although she does need to go back to Bemidji to do her “clinical” the visit to the nursing home. On the last day of class Vivian also had the opportunity to take her AKC Canine Good Citizen test, other wise known as the CGC.  I had very strong doubts about her ability to pass since she had not worked on anything for two weeks while she was recovering.  In addition I had been on a quick trip to Chicago with my Mom so hadn’t even been home the five days before class.  Vivian, poodle that she is, retained her training and did me proud.  She made me work for the down, but hey the floor was concrete I would not have been anxious to lay down on it either!  She passed her test and now has her first AKC title.  She is Degana Vivian’s Stealing Hearts, CGC. 

Up next…adventures in volunteering!  Stay tuned!