|Johnstoy's Friday Jam Session CDX RA CGC
July 31, 1993--January 2, 2007
|As you can see, Pet Therapy was Taffy's favorite activity. As we walked into the hospital or nursing home, he would hold his head and tail high, throw his shoulders back and look around him with a definite air of "Look at me! I'm a working dog, and this is my place of employment!"
Sometimes he would just greet people and let them love him. Therapy dogs can be a real relaxation for someone who is hurting; petting Taffy allowed them to take their minds off the pain for a little while. Since it's a Rehab place, he did his own exercises for them, such as puppy push-ups: "Sit. Down. Sit. Down." He also did some "tricks" for them--retrieving a ball or a dumbbell, coming when called and lying down half-way when I told him to, or playing "dead dog" when I shot him.
At other times, Taffy would take a more active part. A stroke patient once needed to learn to sit upright. The previous day, she had sat unsupported for only 2 seconds, falling toward her left side. I held Taffy to her right side, and she reached out to pet him, sitting unsupported for nearly half a minute. Another stroke patient practiced and practiced opening and closing his "bad" hand the day before our visit so that he could hold a treat in his hand to give to the dog.
One common activity was for Taffy to sit or lie down on a table while someone who needed to stand for a long time stroked him or tickled his tummy. (They discovered that if you tickled the tattoo on his tummy, his hind leg would start thumping and his tongue would start licking in and out.)
Another common activity was "taking the dog for a walk." Someone who needed to learn to walk again after knee surgery would hold Taffy's leash while walking with the walker around the hallway. His--and their--reward was that he got to kiss them, and sometimes they gave him a treat.
You should know that our pet-therapy treats are . . . green Bell pepper! Well, they like it, and what would you expect from clown dogs?
|Taffy attained the Obedience title of Companion Dog Excellent and a Rally Advanced title, as well as a Canine Good Citizen certificate. In 1997, he was selected as the American Pomeranian Club's Top Novice Pomeranian.
He did the Obedience training to please me, and enjoyed it, but he really lived for the therapy work. I miss him greatly.