I thought I would share with you my Bolognese Fizz’s achievement in being accept as volunteer dog no 1001 for Therapy Dogs Nationwide. This was something I had always wanted to do but to be honest I wasn’t sure that Fizz would have the right personality for the role which would involve visiting Care Homes, Hospices, Hospitals schools and prisons. She is well bonded to me but doesn’t choose to go up to others to have a fuss made of her and prior to lockdown if friends came to visit she would take herself upstairs and retreat into her crate. However as my grandchildren came to visit (we were their support bubble) I noticed a change amazingly she chose to lie next to the children and remain quietly with them even when they went to pull her hair and/or stroke her. As I spoke to more people on our dog walks she seemed happier to be made a fuss of so I felt the time was right. The final change came when I decided to trim the hair around her face and eyes more closely so she had a larger field of vision (not great for showing I know!).
I approached the charity and was sent a crib sheet of the 18 activities she would be judged on – a bit daunting. I also had to provide references for myself.
The assessor met us in a busy outside space owned by the National Trust with an outdoor café and takeaway so loads of people and distractions. I really liked our assessor but initially it felt like a driving test very formal…… Instead of an emergency stop the assessor threw down something very noisy to assess Fizzes reactions, well I nearly jumped out of my skin but she was just curious. Another test was yummy treats being dropped in front of her and I had to tell her to leave which she did nice and calmly. She had to demonstrate lying quietly beside me whilst I had a conversation. Loose lead walking, no jumping up or pawing, then the assessor took her on the lead and went over her and also brushed her ……
I felt she had done really well but the assessor then had to write a report which is sent to a panel and we Passed!!!
Now we must wait for a place to visit which realistically won’t be till after 21 June.