We’re Official

I got the email today from Pet Partners/Delta Society telling us that we’re now approved for two more years of Therapy Dog work. They have you fill out a huge packet that needs to be sent in with your test results. Then, you have to wait to see if you forgot something, and they’re going to send the whole packet back to you. I must’ve remembered everything because today it was made official. We’re now registered as a Complex team until June of 2014. Yay!

All ready for more therapy dog work

They’ve changed their logo and colors, so we’ll have to order a new vest and patches. I was waiting to make sure we were approved before doing so.

Kendall’s a Superstar!

Yesterday, Kendall and I had to test to be able to renew our Delta Society/Pet Partner Therapy Animal Team registration. The test consists of a skills test and a temperament test. We have to test every two years. I know that Kendall knows her skills, and she has a great temperament, but she does tend to jump up on people when they come toward her acting excited. I was worried that she’d jump up during the test, but she didn’t!! In fact, Kendall and I passed the test with flying colors and earned a Complex rating, the highest rating possible. This allows us to visit in complex environments such as hospitals, waiting rooms, and mental health facilities. Last time we tested we only earned a Predictable rating.

Ready for two more years of service

We’re looking forward to continuing our visiting at the assisted living center and finding new challenging opportunities with our new rating. Yay for Kendall!

Merry Christmas

Christmas 2012

Things are going to get a bit busy over the next few days, so I wanted to make sure we got our holiday greetings up. No matter what you’re celebrating this year, I hope you have a joyous time. We’ll be hanging close to home this holiday season. What are you doing?

On a side note, we were featured over on the Resolve to Give blog today. Eric is an inspiring person who resolved to give each and every day of 2011. You can read about how this busy engineer and father found the time and the energy to give of himself and the wonderful things he discovered along the way.

Merry Christmas,

Gretchen and Kendall

Delta Society Gala Pictures

Last night we attended the Delta Society’s First Annual Gala Event at the Nines Hotel in Portland. It was a great event. There was a silent auction before dinner, a live auction after dinner, and dancing. We had fun putting our bids in on some of the silent auction items. We ended up winning a stay at Skamania Lodge and a certificate for two nights of dog boarding. I may have to find someone who can use the dog boarding certificate because we’ve never boarded Kendall. I don’t really plan to start now.

Dressed and ready to head to the gala

It was great to see so many well-behaved dogs at the Nines Hotel. I hope they continue to allow us to bring our pet partners to the event.

If you live in the Portland area and could use the two nights of dog boarding at The Dog House on SW Moody Ave, leave me a comment, and I’ll contact you to get the certificate to you. The certificate expires on March 21, 2012.

Delta Society: One Bond-One World Event

Tonight is the Delta Society’s First Annual Fall Gala here in Portland. It’s called One Bond-One World: Framing the Connection. It’s being held at the Nines Hotel, which is one of the fanciest hotels in town, and Kendall gets to go! Believe it or not, the hotel is dog friendly. We’re not planning to stay overnight since we only live a few miles away, but we could.

The event includes dinner, dancing, and an auction. People who bought tickets also have the opportunity to bring their own well-behaved dogs. Kendall and I are going as a Pet Partner team, so she’ll be wearing her vest while I’m wearing a black cocktail dress. It should look great covered with white dog hair by the end of the evening.

To get ready for the event, Kendall went to the groomer yesterday for a Fluff and Buff. She came home looking beautifully white. I don’t know how Deb, the groomer, does it. Kendall just had a bath on Wednesday so that we could volunteer at the library’s Read to the Dog program on Thursday night, and I didn’t get her nearly that white. It could be because I’m leaning over the bathtub doing my best to get the under carriage, while Deb probably has a set up where she’s at a better workable height. Whatever it is she does, Kendall came out looking beautiful.

After her Fluff and Buff

We took advantage of the fact that I was off work early on a Friday and Kendall had just had a bath, so we stopped by for a visit at the Assisted Living Facility where we visit as a Delta Society Pet Partner team. I took the bows out before our visit, since dogs aren’t allowed to be dressed up or sporting bows when they’re working.

The local paper published a very nice article about the event. I hope to get lots of pictures to share with you tomorrow.

Prepping for our Visits as a Pet Partner Team

I’ve been asked what goes into getting your dog ready for a visit to a nursing home or assisted living facility as part of a Delta Society Pet Partner team. Kendall and I just returned from our bi-weekly visit, and I thought I’d walk you through our prep and visit.

Wednesday 7:00 pm – It’s time for a good brushing. The more hair I can brush out and tangles I can remove before the bath, the better it is for both of us.

Wednesday 7:30 pm – It’s time for a bath. All dogs need to be bathed within 24 hrs of a visit to a facility. Kendall doesn’t mind her bath once she’s in there. She stands still until I’m done. I try not to get her ears wet. I leave that for the monthly groomer visits. I’m always afraid I won’t get them dry enough and that there will be an infection.

Wednesday 7:40 pm – Zoomies!!!! Zoom, zoom, zoom. All over the house. Kendall does something my friend calls the car wash that helps dry her off. She’ll run in circles and pass through your legs on each circle. As she runs through, I hold out the towel and dry her off as she runs past.

Wednesday 7:50 pm – Time to wipe the eyes and dry out the ears just in case any water got in to them. It’s also time for a breath check. So far, so good.

Wednesday – Thursday overnight – Drying. Kendall’s coat is really thick and it can take hours to dry. She has a fairly curly coat, so sleeping on it won’t make it look any wackier than it already does.

Thursday 5:00 am – Brushing. Kendall loves to be brushed. She lays in my lap in the morning as I drink my coffee and watch the news before going to work. It’s a great time to sneak in some brushing.

Thursday 2:30 pm – I’m home from work, just in time for quick brushing and trip to the park. I work for a great company that sees the value in volunteering. I’m able to come home early enough on volunteer days to get her ready for our visits and still be finished before the residents go to dinner. I like to take Kendall for a fairly long walk before taking her to visit. It tires her out a bit and she tends to be better behaved and less distracted when I do.

Thursday 3:30 pm – It’s show time. Kendall has a fan club of very nice ladies who just adore her. We stop by the activities room to see who is there and then make our rounds to the rooms of people who like to have Kendall come visit. There are always plenty of treats for Kendall as she makes her rounds. Her fan club seems to be growing each time we visit. Our visits usually last anywhere from 45 min. to an hour. It all depends on Kendall. If she looks like she’s tiring out or looking stressed, we cut it a bit short. We always make sure to remind them that we’ll see them next time we’re there to visit.

Thursday 4:30 pm – Time for a quick potty break and a trip home. I always make sure I wipe down her paws and coat when we get home. It’s dinner time for Kendall. She usually takes a nap after we get home.

As you can see, it takes more than just putting on the vest and showing up at the facility to do your visiting. The looks of joy on the faces of the people we visit more than make up for the time spent getting Kendall ready for her visits.

If you ‘d like to read about what it takes to become a Delta Society Pet Partner Team, check out my post from April.

Lessons from NaBloPoMo June 2011

I’ve been participating in BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo June all month – 30 posts in 30 days. During the course of the month, I’ve learned a few things.

1. Writing consistently is tough. Before this month, I would post whenever I had blog material. That may come when we’ve been to a great dog event, been on a camping trip, or hear of an upcoming dog event that I thought was worth sharing. I always tried to incorporate pictures of Kendall involved in the event, whenever possible. After about Day 15 of NaBloPoMo, I ran out of things to write about. I was looking for things we could do as a family just so that I’d have blog material. With a full-time job and a busy work travel schedule, I found it increasingly difficult to come up with fun, original material. I really didn’t want to resort to a stream of Wordless Wednesdays and Blog Hop Saturdays, but I found that it was a way of filling in and stretching material.
As I’m facing a week-long business trip to one of the busiest and biggest educational tech shows of the year, I find myself rethinking my commitment to NaBloPoMo. I find myself asking, “Who will know the difference?” “Who, besides myself, will even care if I fail to complete the month?” “Is it worth the added stress to my busy travel schedule to complete the 30 posts in 30 days?” I know these are hypothetical questions and that none of you are going to come after me for missing a day or two along the way, but I’m the type of person that finishes what she starts. I haven’t made up my mind yet as to whether or not you’ll see seven more posts this month. I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.

2. I enjoy writing. If only my high school English teacher and the theme editor could see this now! I’m first and foremost a science/math kind of gal, but I love the exactness of grammar and the allure of the written word. I wish I had more time to spend composing blog posts, putting in the perfect links to other great blogs, and inserting pictures of the cute dogs and cats I come across in my day-to-day life, but reality steps in and I must concede to doing the best I can in the time I have.

3. Volunteering as a Pet Partner Team for the Delta Society is very important to me. Kendall and I started volunteering this spring at a new assisted living facility that I wasn’t sure I was going to like. Over the course of the past few months, we’ve grown to love our visits and the wonderful people we get to visit with. There’s nothing like the smile that appears on someone’s face when Kendall walks into the room. They say that there’s a special animal-human bond that happens, and I whole-heartedly agree.

When I set out to do 30 posts in 30 days, I thought it would be easy. I certainly didn’t think I’d learn so much about myself along the way.  I only have seven more posts to do to make it through the month. Is there anything you’d like to see me write about? Are there events happening that I’ve not included?

NaBloPoMo-We’re up for a Challenge!

I’ve decided to kickstart the summer of blogging by participating in BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo June challenge. NaBloPoMo stands for National Blog Posting Month. That means 30 posts in 30 days. The theme for the month is fan. I don’t know how much we’ll follow the posting prompts, but I’ll try.

We started out ok, since Kendall’s not a big fan of camping. In fact, I’ve never seen a dog give us such dirty looks as Kendall does when she’s camping. It’s not like we make her stay outside in the rain. No, she spends most of her time inside the trailer, in our bed, or in my lap, or in her own camping chair. Not that’s she’s spoiled or anything. No, not Kendall.

Looks like I need to get the camera out and get some pictures. We’re off visiting at the assisted living center tomorrow as part of the Delta Society Pet Partners Team thing we have going on.

Read to the Dogs Program

Today Kendall and I did our first session ever at the Beaverton Library Read to the Dogs Program. We had four children signed up to read with us, but only three showed up. Kendall loves kids but doesn’t get to be around them very much. She was pretty excited when we got there but calmed down once the kids started reading to her. She got to meet a lot of kids who were there just doing library stuff. The program at the library is part of the Dove Lewis/Delta Society program

Here’s the info from the Beaverton Library:

Read to the Dogs

Thursday, April 14 and May 12, 2011
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Saturdays, March 26, April 2 & 23, May 7 & 21 and June 4, 2011
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Children’s Area of Beaverton City Library Main

Improve your reading skills and make a new friend by reading aloud to therapy dogs. The dog-and-handler teams are registered volunteers with Delta Society’s Pet Partners Program, sponsored by DoveLewis. This program is for children who are reading on their own. Sessions are 20 minutes in length. Space in this program is limited.
This program is made possible by the Dove Lewis Animal Assisted Therapy and Education Program and Delta Society.
Registration is required. Please phone (503)350-3600 to register or sign up in person at the Children’s Desk on the first floor of the library. Registration for the Spring 2011 session begins Wednesday, March 2, 2011.

If you have kids who are reading on their own, it’s definitely worthwhile. They say they don’t always fill all of the slots.

A Little Trickster

Sunday was the Pets on Parade event in Lake Oswego.

We attended as a representative of the Delta Society. As a group we walked in the Grand Parade, but Kendall and I participated in the “Entertainers” category of the event. She has a little routine of tricks she does when she gets a treat. So far she can sit, down, bow, spin, shake, roll over, speak, and stand and we’re working on Bang (you’re dead). Her bag of tricks won her 1st prize in the category. She even got a trophy for winning.

There were dogs of all shapes and sizes there.

There was even a pony in the parade. There was also a police dog there who gave a demonstration.

Some random pictures from the day: