Marilyn - Test/Observer #5297
Alliance of Therapy Dogs in Brevard County
I first became interested in pet therapy in 1983 in Miami, Florida. My first registered therapy dog was a little beagle named Twit (Ch. Teloca Patches Educated Guess, CD). She was a wonderful little dog who taught me what a wonderful experience pet therapy can be. She loved to meet everyone and people loved her. Residents in the nursing home would ask if it was Tuesday because they knew that Twit would be coming to see them. Twit’s daughter, Gambit, became my next therapy dog. She was a clown who brought much laughter to the nursing home with her antics. Rascal came next and is still working as a therapy dog, although she is semi-retired. At thirteen-years-old, she still loves to go on a visit but it takes her two days to recover, so she is used very sparingly. Sassy is my current therapy dog. She is a tiny little beagle and most people think that she is a puppy although she is five-years-old. She is very special and her many talents have been recognized. Channel 13, a local television station honored her as “Central Floridian of the Week.” The reporter stated “Who needs a doctor when Sassy is on call.”
My employer, Brevard Community College, encourages employees to do community service and gives six hours per month for an employee service project. Sassy and I visit assisted living and adult daycare facilities. We were awarded the “Employee Service Project of the Year” in 2000. Sassy even has her own BCC badge (picture ID) identifying her as a therapy dog in the Allied Health Division. Sassy and I have given lectures on pet therapy to the community, to students in nursing, veterinary technology, and certified nursing assisting and at a state convention for medical assistants.
Over the years, I have shown my beagles in obedience and they have numerous titles and I am currently working on canine freestyle (obedience to music) with Sassy. I have also taught obedience, clicker and trick classes. I am an approved tester/observer for Therapy Dogs, Inc. and am committed to certifying qualified dog/handler teams for national registry.
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