We had our 37th and 38th pet therapy visits today. Our goal is to get 50 by the end of the year, which we are well on track to do. We were certified about 18 months ago by TDI (Therapy Dogs International) and when we get 50 visits, we can put TDIA after Jackson's name. While Jackson may not excel at utility, he does excel at pet therapy. I think that might be his calling : )
Our first visit this morning was to our regular care center that we visit twice a month. He has a list of residents that welcome his one-on-one visits in their rooms, and then we also stop in the various lobbies on each floor and visit whoever is there and wants to be slobbered on by a dog! I think the residents really enjoy the time spent with them, and he in turn enjoys standing close to them and getting his ears scratched.
We also got an unexpected call from one of our friends at the club asking if we could come out to an assisted living facility in the afternoon to visit residents there and do some utility exercises to entertain them. Jackson's training partner, Melody, was also invited. I guess people get a kick out of seeing a giant breed dog and a little terrier doing things together. I thought he might get a little worried about being in a new, strange place, but he was really comfortable in this new environment. We had a nice visit there and Jackson got a chance to do a couple utility exercises for the group. He was working in a small area in the middle of the group of people, so he was somewhat distracted. When he did his finishes, he couldn't resist stopping to visit someone sitting close by. Maybe he was confused because that's what he's supposed to do at the care centers - visit people! The signal exercise went real well, however, he needed a little help with the articles. I didn't need to point them out to him, put I did give him a couple commands to keep him on task. Then, he did pick up the correct article both times.
After we finished, the staff gave us punch and cookies! I hope they invite us back, as it is really good for Jackson - and it's fun : ) Therapy has been great for him in building confidence and getting used to new people and situations, which has carried over into his obedience training as well.