Now that Mom is back from
Before Mom left, she decided she would start REALLY working with Abby to prepare for their therapy team evaluation (the Therapy Animals of Utah group doesn't just evaluate a pet - they evaluate the pet/handler team - so it's not all on Abby!). Now Mom is all "Ohmigawd! The evaluation is July13th! How much socialization can we cram into the next few weeks?"
Which means that Abby is getting all the doggie class time, while I get to stay home and hang out with Dad, enjoying some Abby-free time.
Yesterday was Abby's first day of "prepping" and she worked on her 'meet and greet skills'. Of course, Abby is a natural suck-up, so the focus was to keep Abby from going totally cracker when people came up to tell her how cute she is. Jessi (the turkey hotdog lady) even made this cool sign so people would stop by and pet Abby.
|Doesn't Jessi totally rock? Abby even has her own time on the class schedule for "Therapy Dog Prep"|
Saturday morning at 11am at Petco is actually not as busy as you might think, so Mom and Abby are going to go during the week as well, after Mom comes home from work, so Abby can get used to busy stores with filled with people anxious to buy a few dog treats to placate their doggies who have been home all day while their humans have been working all day (to earn money to buy doggie treats).
However, the sign was still pretty successful, and Abby had to use all of her mentals to stay calm while people petted her (or walked other dogs by her).
|Abby dutifully accepting pets from the nice 'Vetco' vet who was there to administer low-cost vaccinations.|
|There are times I think Mom is almost as much of a hambone as Abby!|
I anticipate a few weeks of peace and quiet as Abby is hustled off to Petco, and Home Depot, and other dog friendly places where she can learn to act a bit more like a civilized dog.
Dr. Liz here. While we are working with the intention of passing our evaluation on the first try, the Pet Partners people have a very rigorous evaluation process (which is a good thing) and I will not be disappointed if we don't pass the first time around. If we are successful, that would be fantastic, but if not, it will give us both the chance to get a sense of what we really need to work on, so we'll be ready for the next time we get evaluated. I really like that Pet Partners has such a demanding evaluation process - I'd rather we be super-ready before we are out at a site, than be worried that we're only kinda-sorta ready. And all of the work with Abby will give Fi a break from her sister - which I think she'll appreciate!
Abby was quite worn out after her session yesterday, so I think this whole Abby-as-therapy-dog thing could be great! I mean, she might get worn out enough that she doesn't have the energy to be so crackery all the time! And I really don't see any downside with that.
The evaluation covers EVERYTHING, from her behavioral skills to Abby's hygiene (Mom has started brushing our teeth) and physical fitness (seriously - they won't evaluate over-weight doggies - the thinking being that since the pet is the first priority of the handler, if a pet isn't at a healthy weight, the owner should focus on getting the pet healthy before tackling therapy work - and I like the message that sends, to both owners and the people who meet the certified dogs).
So in addition to Abby's skills, Mom is continuing to ensure both Abby and I are in peak physical condition.
|Yep. Her teeth are looking great!|
|She looks like she's ready for take-off!|
|Cracker dog face. We probably shouldn't show this photo to the evaluators!|
|More physical activity.|
|And yes, I have my own frisbee time. I just don't fly through the air like a crazy dog!|
|She's such a suck-up!|
|Which is why I like to give her a big old "pfffth" when she's not looking!|
Actually, I really hope Mom and Abby succeed with this whole therapy dog thing. I think Mom would enjoy it, Abby loves seeing people, and I think little old ladies might actually find Abby's sucking up to be charming!
|Hi! I'm here to be therapeutic! (Once I've passed my evaluation, that is!)|
And while Abby is off sucking up to people, I can amuse myself by making funny faces!
Have a great week! And be on the lookout for more photos of Abby learning how to behave like a civilized doggie!
-Fiona and Abby the Hippobottomus