To become a Pet Partner therapy team you have to know or live with your animal for at least six months. This means you cannot adopt a dog and then expect to test before the six months “getting to know you” period.
The purpose for this is to ensure that the handler really knows and understands their animal. What stresses the animal and how does he exhibit this stress? What pleases the animal and how do they display joy and comfort?
How does your dog tell you he has to go to the bathroom?
How does he tell you he is tired?
I will be testing with Petey very shortly as we reach our six months together but every day I learn something new about this little guy.
I have been bringing Petey to many new places to not only socialize him but to get to know him better.
What makes him happy? What makes him nervous? What makes him playful? What makes him anxious?
I have learned that he loves meeting new people. He loves being cradled in their arms. He loves smelling new trees and dogs and anything with a new scent. He loves sitting on my lap for endless periods of time. He loves being turned over for belly rubs. He loves being held up high next to my face. He loves prancing when on the ground – he doesn’t walk, he prances.
He loves being brushed. He loves looking right into your eyes. He loves learning new things like how to stay in the Down, Stay on my lap for thirty seconds!
He has learned to drink water from a very tiny cup and does not spill. He eats his soft food with great appetite and has gained a few ounces. He sticks his tongue out when he is getting tired. Then he rests his head down with a sweet quizzical look.
He still does not love being touched right under his mouth but as he becomes accustomed to having no teeth, this is lessening. He now enjoys me rubbing his chin and people he trusts can also touch him there.
He understands that he is now with his final home and is safe and happy.
Petey is on his way to becoming a Love Dog and teaching me more about him every day.