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Any other therapy dogs in here?

February 5th, 2011, 09:34 AM
St. John Ambulance had a booth set up at the Doggie Dash last fall (local fun-run event), so we signed up our three little monsters... they finished their certification in December and we've been visiting a seniors' home with them weekly ever since... needless to say, they're all quite the hit, and there's a regular group that gathers in the lounge after dinner every Tuesday waiting for us :)

If anyone's looking for a volunteer opportunity that doesn't take a lot of time and gives your dog something constructive to do (as Cesar would say, a working dog is a happy dog), I highly recommend looking into a therapy dog program, either through SJA or whatever other local outfit.

We get our official shirts and kerchiefs for the pups this weekend; I'll post some pics with everyone all decked out once we have them!

BTW, if you haven't seen it, the site has an article on the topic:

February 5th, 2011, 11:47 AM
That's great! Congratulations! I would have loved to do something like that with my two, but alas, I think they're too high strung.

February 5th, 2011, 12:02 PM
Try contacting your local SJA about orientation and evaluations... it's actually surprising how many dogs excel at this. The evaluations are actually only half about the dogs themselves (mainly to see how they deal with certain circumstances), and half about the handlers and how they work with the dogs. There were a couple at Dusty & Groucho's evaluation that I'd call "high strung" as well, but they handled all the situations presented quite well.

All it costs is a $20 signup fee, and a few hours of your time... plus, having something constructive to do may be what your guys need to mellow them out a bit! :) Worst case, you find out what areas of behavior you need to work on, and try again later. As they said in our classes, "nobody fails, but not everyone will pass today". As it was, only one dog didn't make it through, because he growled at the evaluator.

February 5th, 2011, 12:06 PM
Brina isn't certified but she visits the nursing home where I volunteer at least once a month, and if I don't, then they ask for her, she's 6 yrs old (almost) and has been visiting them since she was 8 weeks , she enjoys it almost as much as they do.

February 5th, 2011, 01:27 PM
Nice! Of course, volunteering there yourself gives you (and her) an in ;) We had to get criminal record checks done for SJA, and some of the sites want us to have our own vaccinations up to date too.

The local SJA coordinators take their dog into this same nursing home on Saturdays, have been for years... after our first visit, they said the next time they were in, everyone kept talking about the "three little dogs that came to visit" :)

February 5th, 2011, 01:38 PM
I've been talking with one of our dog park visitors who teaches autistic kids at the local jr high. Scruffy is fantastic with the autistic kids who visit the park with's got me thinking.Just not sure how to go about doing it. Might also force me to do a bit more training on the "listen to mom and quit being an idiot" skills. He's too feisty to be a senior's dog, but there might be other things he can do.
THx for getting me thinking, Soundy

February 5th, 2011, 01:52 PM
We actually first started getting the idea, too, at the dog park, when Dusty was just 5 months old and charming old folks already :D

February 5th, 2011, 03:13 PM
And what a wee charmer he is :cloud9:

February 5th, 2011, 07:34 PM
Picked up our OFFICIAL shirts (for us) and scarves (for the pups) today... I'll take a pic of them dressed up for work ASACP :)

February 6th, 2011, 07:40 PM
Soundy, what a little angel!

February 8th, 2011, 10:51 PM
Finally got our official uniforms!

March 9th, 2011, 01:28 AM
So, we took some pictures tonight during our weekly visit... gonna get some prints done to take with us next week:

March 9th, 2011, 12:48 PM
I have emailed our SJA a few times about volunteering and have never heard back. I used to work in a residential care facility and took Whistler in to volunteer MANY times. He LOVED it and I thought it was pretty amazing. The residents loved it of course too. It was incredible actually. One lady talked away to him, and we didn't even know she could talk before that. It's a very moving experience to share your animal with others! :)

March 9th, 2011, 03:40 PM
Might need to just call them - volunteer organizations like this, I find, are sometimes not all that tech-savvy.

Our organizers here are good with their email, but they did note that the account name is case-sensitive... which seems odd to me, but it's possible, depending on the email server they're using.

March 9th, 2011, 08:16 PM
Thanks, I will just try calling them then! :)

May 2nd, 2011, 09:31 PM
Wow, what a weekend... we signed up for this because of the booth John & Yvonne ran at the Doggie Dash last fall... so we figured it would be a good idea to help them represent at the Ridge Meadows Home show.

Well... a one-hour shift on Friday turned into two hours and we barely covered half the floor. Another two-hour shift on Sunday and we still didn't get by every booth. Just taking Groucho and Dusty around the floor, and we couldn't get three steps without someone else stopping us wanting to see the dogs and talk about their volunteer work. We handed out a least a dozen info brochures and business cards as well to other people who were interested in signing up their dogs.

Poor Dusty... after an hour at the park Sunday morning, an hour at obedience training, and then a couple hours at the Home Show, he was POOPED. Outside the building, we put his water dish down for him... he started drinking, then laid down and kept drinking... and I'm pretty sure he actually dozed off with his face in the bowl.

November 10th, 2011, 02:20 PM
So, we're now also officially Code K-9 volunteers at Ridge Meadows Hospital! Did our orientation last weekend, took the dogs to get their pictures done today (for their ID badges)... Sunday we meet with the hospital's Code K-9 coordinator to get a walk-through! 062_n.jpg

November 10th, 2011, 03:59 PM
Congratulations, Soundy!!! To you and to the mini-mutts! :highfive: Well done, all of you! :D

November 10th, 2011, 10:57 PM
Congrats & cute pic of the mini mutts lineup :D

February 5th, 2012, 08:50 PM
Set up a new Therapy Dogs page on Facebook:

November 5th, 2012, 02:32 AM
Went to see Cesar tonight in Victoria (we wanted VIP tix, and they were sold out in Abbotsford). Managed to squeeze in a copy of our pic for any autograph at the end, woot!

November 5th, 2012, 01:58 PM
Awesome!! How was the presentation?

November 5th, 2012, 03:09 PM
Fantastic! Main show was close to 2.5 hours, with intermission... we had the VIP tix for the Q&A afterward, so it ran over three hours for us. He packed a lot of great stuff into it, brought in several local volunteers and their dogs to give some real-life examples of his... I hesitate to say "technique", because what he really espouses is more foundational than techniques; it's almost a philosophy.

The thing is, it works as well in real life as you see on the show. Granted, none of the dogs he brought on stage were the extreme cases they use for the show, but he uses the same principles and they work just as well: Person brings in "problem" dog, the "problem" is demonstrated with the dog's handler, Cesar points out where the person is sending the dog the wrong message through their body language and "energy", Cesar demonstrates with the dog behaving perfectly on the first go... then the dog's owner demonstrates with a far less "troublesome" dog. There's no training in between, nothing done to the dog... in every case, it's quite clear how it's the handler's state of mind that makes almost all the difference.

And yeah, they actually ran the South Park episode with him during the intermission. Always great to see when a celebrity knows how to NOT take himself too seriously :)

If you haven't seen it:

November 5th, 2012, 06:26 PM
:laughing: Funny clip!!

Glad you enjoyed the show! :highfive:

November 6th, 2012, 08:42 AM
OMG that was Hilarious!!!!!!!!!!!

February 25th, 2013, 02:18 AM
Recent article in the local paper, featuring Buttons and our SJA coordinators, John and Yvonne:

March 2nd, 2013, 02:07 AM
For anyone in the Ridge Meadows area who's interested, there will be a Therapy Dogs orientation on the evening of March 19th at the SJA offices in Maple Ridge. PM me for details!