Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bragging Rights

I must admit that I have some bragging to do. Last evening at the Dauphin Dog Training Center, I passed my Therapy Dog International test something that Mom, Dad and I have been working on for some time. I was ready to take the test long ago, but Mom doesn't take failure well and was scared that we might not pass. With a little bit of encouragement from a few of my fellow Dog Scouts like Rowdy Withun and Molly Green, Mom decided that the worst that could happen was that I'd have to take it again.

My professional mug shot for my TDI ID

For those of you who don't know, Therapy Dogs International (TDI®) is a volunteer organization dedicated to regulating, testing and registering therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers for the purpose of visiting nursing homes, hospitals, and wherever else therapy dogs are needed. All dogs must be tested and evaluated by a Certified TDI evaluator. Each dog must pass a temperament evaluation for suitability to become a Therapy Dog, which includes the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Test. The test also includes evaluating the dog’s behavior around children and people using service equipment like wheelchairs and crutches. Finally, all dogs must fully understand and obey the Leave-it command by passing over a plate of food many, many times.

In addition to visiting hospitals and nursing homes, I am particularly excited about a new venture that Dog Scout Troop 161 is planning to participate in called "Children Reading to Dogs." The main objective of the program is to provide a relaxed and “dog-friendly” atmosphere, which allows students to practice the skill of reading. Many of the children chosen for this program have difficulties reading and as a result have developed self-esteem issues and are often self-conscious when reading aloud in front of other classmates.

I don't know how to read yet, so I'm thinking this is going to be a great opportunity for me, too. Not only will I have some of the great Dr. Seuss classics like "Green Eggs and Ham" read to me, the child is expected to pet me -- a real "win-win" situation if you ask me.

In case you can't tell, I'm pretty darn excited about my latest accomplishment. I guess it's time to go update the ol' resume. My official name with titles is now Katandy's Calypso Moon Newman, CGC, DSA, TDI (Canine Good Citizen, Dog Scout of America, and Therapy Dog International).

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