We hear a lot of folks say these days that their dog is super friendly and should be a therapy dog. But do they really know what it entails?
Mahm started researching this when I was a baby, because due to my friendly disposition, she thought the same thing! She was very careful to socialize me very early, in all types of situations, and on all types of surfaces! I started Puppy Class at 10 weeks, then after I graduated (photo with cute hat is from that day!), I took and graduated from Intermediate and Advanced Classes. After I graduated Advanced Class, I took and passed the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test!
During this whole time, Mahm continued to take me as many places as she could and worked with me at home between classes. After I passed the CGC, I took a Therapy Class that my trainer taught. We learned how to interact with people using devices like crutches, wheelchairs, and scooters and we learned some advanced obedience. After I took the Therapy Class, I practiced for a few more months with Mahm, and then I took the AKC's Advanced Canine Good Citizen Test (Community Canine; CGCA), which I passed with flying colors!
Once I had that under my belt, Mahm got in touch with an evaluator with Alliance of Therapy Dogs and scheduled me for an evaluation. The evaluation was three parts: the first time was a meet and greet at a local pet shop that had plenty of distractions! I passed that and then it was on to a series of two visits to a local retirement home. I had such a great time at each visit! I even got in bed to snuggle with a patient who wanted to cuddle me, but couldn't get out of his bed.
After sending off my paperwork along with my veterinary health certification, I was registered as an official therapy dog! I'm looking forward to my new adventures as Therapy Dog Orso and will share more with you as they happen!