Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Savi is now a Pet Partners Therapy Dog!

Last Sunday,Savi, CH Grayhart's Shear Genius, SH, NSD, NRD,V, and I underwent and passed with flying colors, the evaluation for the Pet Partners, formerly Delta Society, Therapy Dog Program. The test was given in New York City by Anita Sacks, a certified Pet Partner Evaluator.

What is unique about this program is that both the dog and handler are tested on their skills and aptitude as relating to what it takes to being a successful and safe team able to visit various environments. I was so proud of Savi, who did an awesome job, and received wonderful feedback from our evaluator on her terrific, outgoing temperament.

From the Pet Partners Website:

Pet Partners® program trains volunteers and screens volunteers and their pets for visiting animal programs in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, schools and other facilities.
The Pet Partners program was established in 1990 to ensure that "both ends of the leash," people as well as animals, were well-prepared to participate in animal-assisted activity and animal-assisted therapy programs. Pet Partners is the only national registry that requires volunteer training and screening of animal-handler teams.

Pet Partners national network links volunteers with facilities in their own communities that request visiting pets and helps Pet Partners contact facilities to begin visits in new locations.
The evaluation consists of two parts, Skills and Aptitude.  Above shows the dog at the beginning of an overall exam and then the tester will move on to clumsy petting and a restraining hug.  Savi gave Anita lots of kisses whenever she could and was allowed.
The dog must have basic obedience skills and do these with distractions, ranging from yelling, staggering individuals, getting bumped from behind and being crowded and petted by a group of people.  Above, shows a stay.  The dog is kept on a long lead for safety purposes.
The last exercise was accepting a treat.  The dog must do this in a polite manner and the evaluator must not feel teeth.  It is also important that the handler show or tell the person how they are to give the dog a treat.
And we have a new Therapy Team!!!

Thanks to my good friend, Kellyann for the terrific photos and our puppy people, Aimee, Michael Rosalie and Danielle for helping make the entire test day a success!

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