Today I called a local nursing home to ask about doing volunteer work with Isaac. I wanted to know if a therapy dog is something they would be interested in, if they would require the therapy dog to be registered with a pet therapy organization (I assumed they probably would), and if so, if they required registration with a particular organization. See, there are a number of organizations that register therapy dogs, including Therapy Dogs International (which discriminates against disabled people - read more here), Therapy Dogs, Inc., Love on a Leash and Pet Partners. Some nursing homes, hospitals and other facilities only allow therapy dogs that are registered with a particular organization. So I wanted to check with a few places I might like to volunteer and find out if they required registration with a particular organization to help me choose which one I want to register with. Ideally, I can choose one that most places I'd want to volunteer will accept.
Anyway, I spoke with the activity director at the nursing home and she said she would love to have a therapy dog visit the facility. She said she's been wanting to do that for a while but had been unable to find anyone to bring one in. I asked if she would require the dog to be registered with a therapy dog organization and she said oh no, she would just need proof that he's up to date on all his vaccines. I went on to tell her that Isaac passed the Canine Good Citizen test (CGC) and explained a little about what that is and how it's very similar to the test most therapy dog organizations give dogs. It's basically just a test of good doggie manners. I talked a little about how Isaac is trained to so certain things, like "paws up" if someone wants him to put his paws in their lap and that I ask people if they want him to do that before I let him do it and stuff like that. I told her how he's used to being around things like walkers and wheelchairs.
She wanted to know when we wanted to start. So we are going in Monday morning. I think we'll try to volunteer for about an hour at a time, once or twice a week. I think this will be like heaven for Isaac. An hour surrounded by people that will pet him and tell him what a pretty dog he is and feed him treats (which I will bring with me). Ear rubs and belly rubs and kisses. He will love it.
I'm really excited.