Friday, May 3, 2013

"When Goldfish Attack - A therapy dog's harrowing tail"

Those of you who have met Amelia, know that her temperament is perfectly suited for Therapy Dog Work. She has been taking classes for the past two months, and will hopefully pass the certification test in two weeks! Her biggest challenge has been "leave it", as she is so low to the ground and spends her time "vacuuming" for god-knows-what. Two classes ago, it did not look promising, as she was lightning fast in picking up the small pieces of chicken off the very tempting "do-not-eat" plate on the ground. I catch myself being resentful of the test itself, wondering what jerk-face would leave a plate of food on the ground for a dog to NOT eat...but then I remind myself that it is the principle of the thing. Most people do, in fact, NOT leave plates of delicious food on the ground. But they might drop their dangerous medications on the ground, if they are anything like me...Ms.Butterfingers.

This last class was great. On the first try, my exceptional little muffin passed over the plate, picking up three goldfish crackers in the process. I quickly squeaked "LEAVE IT!", at which point she turned around, and the three crackers plopped out of her oversize jowels and back on the plate. I was mighty impressed. Until the instructor needlessly pointed out that nobody is going to want to take pills that were dropped and now covered in dog drool. To which my instinctive response MIGHT have been "Droppers can't be choosers".

On the second try, I was told to "assertively" command that the dog "LEAVE IT" with better timing - as in, BEFORE the plate is within reach. I might have yelled a bit too loud, because Amelia jumped straight up in the air, and over the plate, with at least a 20" useless diameter.

Nobody can say that this dog is a slow learner. Third pass at the plate of crackers. I didn't have a chance to say ANYTHING because Amelia now thinks goldfish crackers are the devil, and took a huge detour around the plate while not even making any eye contact. Next...I guess we'll have to try it rib?

Here is a picture of Amelia being very suspicious of her giant therapy dog colleague, wondering if there aren't size restrictions for this job.

And should he be SLEEPING in class?
He should maybe reconsider his career choice...
I wonder if that plate of goldfish crackers is still behind me...


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