For those readers who would like to hear about something other than caring for Ben, post-surgery, I offer the following audio-conference highlights from a recent call on the upcoming National Dog Show. Thanks to the sparkling wit of both David Frei (he has a new book out–ANGEL ON A LEASH) and Mary Costello, who noted that you just can’t stop smiling when you go to a dog show–it was a great hour. I was thrilled to learn that a therapy dog was being honored at the National Dog Show Presented by Purina. Eli is a Belgian Sheepdog who dog-counseled victims and first responders at 9/11. He is from Allentown (owned by Sherry Hanley) and his smiling face is warm and friendly! Few of our best friends who shared this horrific day with the nation are still alive today–those who are, are seniors who have never retired. It is wonderful that they are still working their warm magic with us. Eli, for example, today snuggles with young cancer victims at the Ronald MacDonald House in New York. Frei told us that James, the therapy English Springer Spaniel and former Westminster champion, had passed this spring and is now probably helping on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. I wonder if my Cagney is part of this therapy team?
Here, please permit me to make two observations. First, I wonder why our listening and empathetic therapy dogs have not been used with child abuse victims like those now headlined in the Penn State tragedy? Dogs and children! Why not?
Second, there used to be a sharp line between the dog in the show ring and the dogs that did other things–the brainy dogs, the birdy dogs, the guard dogs. Today, that is not the case. When you watch the National Dog Show, which will be presented again by Purina, the majority of the winners will have a therapy dog degree and spend their off-camera time making lives happier and bringing smiles and comfort. These dogs deserve part of our Thanksgiving Day.
FLEA AND TICK TREATMENT NEWS. Frontline has developed a new flea- and tick-killing spot-on preventative called CERTIFECT. Discuss the product with your veterinarian before purchasing. Certifect is not a replacement for Frontline.
ALERT DOGS. Dogs can be trained to alert and warn–acting as smoke alarms. Fires are the most feared disasters!
How to train your canine to perform this activity for you? The training device is a flowerpot turned upside down on a plate. Begin by burning small twigs or leaves inside the pot and reward your dog when he barks at the smoke. Gradually increase the intensity of the smoke with pieces of fabric. The dog is rewarded for barking; next, finding the owner is added to the training. Since we usually reward a dog for not barking, this part of the training needs reinforcement–like a toy.
CANINE GOOD CITIZEN EVACUATION BOOK. With all the new titles being published by the AKC, I’m surprised that no dog trainer has yet tackled the ways in which the public can ease evacuations by having canine companions trained to be Canine Good Citizens. We could call it the CGC-E and issue a wallet card with picture to those dogs who have passed the training in such a program–having this card will help with registration at the shelter. With the future importance of pet sheltering in disasters it would seem only natural to emphasize CGC adaptability to distractions, ease in working with strangers and calmness with other dogs. And, then of course, add the ability to have the CGC work in the Red Cross shelters with victims and you have a new therapy dog!Nov 13, 2011 | | Uncategorized