These are the chronicles of two Shetland Sheepdogs and their adventures in rally-o, obedience, flyball, agility, tracking and therapy dog work.
Also including information on raw feeding, canine epilepsy, positive training, and lots and lots of Sheltie hair!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Romeo's First Therapy Dog Visit

Earlier in the month I had made plans with the recreational coordinator of one of Gio's therapy dog facilities to have a visit on Boxing Day. I'm sure there are residents there that maybe missed out on family celebrations, especially with the weather we have been having and all of the cancellations at airports across the country. But a couple of weeks ago, Gio began having trouble with his seizures again. Normally, and we have in the past, Gio would be able to go on a visit a day after a seizure. He recovers quite quickly and can be back in action in a day or two. But since he was put on new medication, that wasn't the deal this time around. The phenobarbital that he was prescribed is really taking a toll on him and he is having a hard time adjusting. So even though it is nearly two weeks since he started the new meds, he still isn't in top form for therapy dog visitations. He's much better now than he was a couple of days ago, but still has his bouts of dizziness and ataxia, and I didn't think it would be fair for him or the residents he would be visiting to require him to work today.

A couple of months back, Romeo passed his St. John Ambulance therapy dog test. I have spoken with the recreational coordinators of the facilites that Gio visits and they are happy to allow Romeo to visit as well. Of course, we still need to go through the formalities and Romeo has to pass his orientation visit where our regional direction accompanies us on our first visit as an SJA therapy dog team. Romeo has not yet had his orientation because of busy schedules the past couple of months. A few days ago, I wrote the recreational coordinator at the facility Gio was supposed to visit today and told her the story. I offered to either come without a dog and keep the other therapy dog team company as they visit, or I could bring Romeo and visit outside of the umbrella of St. John Ambulance. They gave the thumbs up for me to bring Romeo out of uniform, so that their residents could have some furry visitors during the holiday season.

So today was Romeo's first therapy dog visit, not officially with St. John Ambulance, but as an independent therapy dog team.

"I've got an important job to do! Gio has entrusted me with his ladies, and made me
promise to be good to them."

I took him to the facility a couple of minutes early to get him used to the place. It is pretty echo-y in there and lots of new smells, so we spent some time heeling up and down the hallways, lots of treats, and practicing his tricks and focus. He did great! Even got a little warm-up in the foyer where he was assaulted by two residents that insisted on coo-ing over his pretty markings and commenting on how smart he is.

"I did a couple of my tricks and practiced heels and stays so that I could get used to the new building. Anything for some treats!"

We visited all of our regulars and Romeo did a great job! I have to say, it is nice having a small dog to do visits with. He is able to sit on laps, get a good cuddle in and give whisker kisses. I was unsure how he would react being placed on a strangers lap, but he LOVED it. Settled right in for a good scratch.

I was glad that he had Lily the Cairn Terrier to show him the ropes. Lily is Gio's usual visiting buddy and she really took control showing Romeo what to do. They were so cute prancing down the hallway together. There was always that little urge for Romeo to break out a play-bow, but Lily is a pro and knew better. She was working and provided a great example for Romeo to follow.

Lily and Romeo


the Corgi Girls said...

Romeo will be a ladies man in his own way I'm sure! Way to go!

M & I

Diana said...

I home Gio feels better soon. Love the new blog header. diana

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