Today was a red letter day. Charlie passed the necessary tests to finally be certified as a Therapy Dog. This is something that I’ve wanted to do for years and when I received Charlie as a gift over a year ago… my goal was to reach this day. I’m so proud of him.
I’d like to say that he passed with flying colors, but it didn’t really work that way. We had to go to Sonora this morning for the testing. (That is the closest evaluator in our area.) Charlie had not been in the car that long before and I don’t think he liked the ride too much. (He was hesitant to get back in when we were done.) He did very well on all of the items except two… Come when called and Waiting without me for 3 minutes. Now I knew the come when called thing was going to be tricky, but he does pretty well when I have a treat and he has on this collar and leash. (We had been practicing it that way.) Today, in the test, I dropped his leash, told him to wait and then walked about 15 feet away. I turned around, dropped to a knee and called him. He ran… straight to me and straight into me… knocking me flat on my back and possibly dislocating my finger. Then he took off and ran around the area like a lunatic. The evaluator said… “Well, the test says come when called and he did… he just didn’t stay.” Fortunately, we didn’t have to try that again.
The second problem area was the three minute wait. We didn’t practice this at all because I didn’t think it would be an issue. He is very good to go to someone else on the leash without me. The part I didn’t think about was that they were going to tie him up while I walked away. Charlie has never been tied up. I was a little nervous about this one. I took him over to the tether, hooked it to his collar and then walked away with all of the other handlers. At about 2 minutes and 45 seconds everyone started yelling and I saw the streak of pale yellow fur run by me in a flash. Charlie had backed out of his collar and escaped. (His neck is bigger than his head so he learned how to do that well, a long time ago.) After everyone else was finished, the evaluator re-tested Charlie by himself and he stood next to him for the 3 minutes and this time, Charlie didn’t pull any shenanigans.
I am very excited to get started on our visits. I’m sure there will be more blessings to report. For now, we have to file his paperwork and wait for his certificate and photo ID badge to come.