You don’t have to dig too deep to discover that I am obsessed with my dogs. There are three beating hearts that I would die for and two belong to four-legged canines. In our house our 3 year old Lylee is more bonded to K and our little Enzo is bonded to me. It works nicely during cuddle-time.
This weekend Enzo and I made our first attempt at behavioral testing for the Pet Partners program. Enzo is a therapy dog in-training; someday soon we will be visiting sick and injured people in hospitals. I’ve wanted to work with a therapy dog for a long time and when Enzo’s true personality started to develop we discovered that he would make the perfect comfort dog!
Enzo passed all but one challenge. The evaluator had nothing but wonderful things to say about him, but we both agreed he’s a little exuberant. He was not able to ignore the “neutral dog” in the room and so he failed that portion. We overcompensated on socializing Enzo because Lylee tends to be dog aggressive, so we taught him to play with other dogs… and that’s what he wanted to do during the test.
When he failed part my heart sank. I felt my face flush with embarrassment for Enzo and I almost started crying… We have hours of training and +$300 invested in this therapy dog goal. I knew it wasn’t his fault, but I felt like we’d totally failed. Then I looked at Enzo.
He was sad because the other “neutral dog” had left the room, but other than that he sat there wagging his tail, looking at me for the next command. He wasn’t sad- he was just having a good time. We continued with the evaluation, just for the experience, and he was perfect. After we left (and promised to come back and test again) I took him to the pet store for a new bone.
I admit that I was still sad when we left the testing facility. I cried in the car a little bit and called K to tell him the bad news. We came up with a game plan to train Enzo to be a little more disciplined, but deep down I love that he’s so social and happy. While we waited to test he politely greeted everyone in the lobby with a wagging tail. He will absolutely be the perfect therapy dog- Saturday just wasn’t our time.
I’m very grateful for Enzo. He reminds me that life is better when you speak softly and wag your tail. Last night I had a nightmare that I turned my back for a few minutes and someone stole him. (Our last trainer and the evaluator joked that they’d steal him in a heartbeat.) I panicked in my dream and then woke up and searched the bed for him. Of course he was passed out against my thigh, same as every night.
Have you ever been visited by a therapy dog? Do you have super crazy dreams based on real-life interactions? Are you sick of my dog-posts yet?