04-12-2013, 12:04 AM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
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Therapy Dog Advanced Callings
Ion and I have been a registered a therapy dog team for close to a year and a half now. He's such a sweet boy with an amazing skill set. Recently we discovered a newer group forming in the area specifically for hospice work. Not many know this, but my father was in hospice when Ion wasn't even a year old. Visits from Dr Jack the therapy dog helped my family very much through that time . . . it was then that I decided Ion and I would give back. Soon after my father's funeral Ion passed his CGC at 9 months old with flying colors. Then at just over a year old we rocked our therapy assessment! Since then We have been visiting various places and I had been waiting for myself to be ready and the right opportunity to move into hospice volunteer work with him.
This past weekend Ion and I underwent a very intense three day program to determine if we were suited for the full hospice program. In the end we showed to be one of the strongest bonded teams out there (and we are the youngest as Ion is not even 3 yet). We struggled a little on the third day, as visits are emotionally charged and Ion was feeling the strain, wanting to move more. I adjusted for him, and was very upfront with the assessor that I could see he was minorly stressed (unlike the two prior days where he was cool as a cucumber). She was glad I wasn't trying to cover up his state, that I recognized my partner's needs. This is crutial to working with a therapy dog. Visits are not typically conducted this close together, it is more than we normally ask of them which was taken into account. We're looking forward to serving in this very important stage of life, aiding those who are passing on and the families and loved ones who surround them.
Ion is a living towel for the tears they need to cry, his perky ears are ever vigilant for the whispers they need to utter, he is a vehicle to help them open up what needs to come. I have been there, and now I give back.