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!
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!