Cabana is a CAT Dog!

Hooray, I'm pleased to announce that Cabana passed her Canine Assisted Therapy evaluation with flying colors! (You were right, Nicole!)

This morning, I woke with a start at 7am. ACK, I NEVER sleep that late! I always wake up around 6:30am, whether I want to or not, so I didn't bother to set an alarm clock.

After much rushing around, I was still able to make it to the class on time. My goal was to be one of the first to arrive, since Cabana can still be quite dog distracted. I knew that sitting for 3+ hours in a room full of dogs that Cabana wasn't allowed to play with would be a challenge. We were the second ones there, and we nabbed a spot in the corner, where Cabana got comfy on her go-to-bed mat.

There were a lot of other beautiful dogs there. This dog is a big sheltie or small collie. I can't remember which.

This doberman was such a majestic creature, very calm and graceful--but HUGE! I don't think he'll be getting up on too many hospital beds (which isn't really allowed anyway).

This English Springer Spaniel is 10-years old. Surprisingly, most of the dogs were on the younger side, about 2-3 years old, like Cabana.

Cabana and this German shepherd were very interested in each other from opposite ends of the room. The German shepherd made lots of wistful noises at not being allowed to come introduce himself. Then later in the day, he walked by us, and Cabana stood up and let out a LOUD single bark, trying to get his attention, I guess. When I shushed her, she turned to me, sat her bottom down on her mat, and offered me each of her front paws in quick succession. I think they were gestures of apology, like, "Look, Mom, I'm done being naughty. Now I'm doing all kinds of things I think you might want me to do."

There was a separate room for the actual evaluation, where each handler and dog team took turns being tested. We entered the room, where lots of cheetos or cheesy popcorn (it was hard to tell exactly what they were) had been strewn on the floor. I had Cabana sit next to me while I filled out a form. Later, the evaluator commended me for taking the time to make sure I had placed Cabana where I could be aware of her actions before turning to fill out the paperwork. But at the time, all the volunteers laughed at Cabana's silly sit, as her legs continued to sprawl out further on the slippery floor!

The evaluators handled Cabana all over--her paws, her belly, they checked out her ears and her teeth. Although Cabana was a bit resistant to them opening her mouth to look at her teeth, she didn't react negatively to any of it. Then, we weaved through an obstacle course of orange cones, and Cabana didn't go for the cheetos on the floor even once! (Actually, I think the cheetos were really old and stale, maybe even recycled for each session, so that they didn't have much food value left to them, not that they have much food value even when fresh--but anyway, I'm not complaining.) We also had to walk by opening umbrellas, people making loud and erratic noises, a person with a walker, and another in a wheelchair. Finally, we navigated through a narrow space between a hospital bed and the wall, took a seat, and role played introducing ourselves and interacting with a patient lying in the bed.

Cabana handled everything perfectly, and the volunteers in the room all commented about her happy prancing walk. It seemed like Cabana knew she had done a good job and was proud of herself! I was extremely proud of her, too.

So next week, the humans go back for a day-long orientation, where they will go over protocols, choice of facilities, and such. We can choose to volunteer at a hospital, convalescent home, or Cabana can be a reading dog at a library or school. Or we can do some of both. There is an assisted care center on their list of facilities that is walking distance from my house, so I'm slightly leaning toward that one. It would be convenient to be able to walk there, and I also like the idea of being in my own community.

But I'm open to whatever needs there may be. And mostly, I'm relieved that Cabana passed!

Hobbes Dogs  – (January 22, 2011 at 8:29 PM)  

Congratulations to both of you! I look forward to hearing more about your experience with the program. Therapy work is something I would like to do with my own dog in the future.

K9-CRAZY  – (January 22, 2011 at 8:58 PM)  

Congratulations to both of you!

Brittany  – (January 22, 2011 at 9:05 PM)  

That is great! Congratulations!

Martha G  – (January 22, 2011 at 9:18 PM)  

Good job Mimi and Cabana! I'm not surprised at all, but glad the test is done and Cabana passed!

I talked to a volunteer at the humane society who does pet assisted therapy and he described going to a memory center with the dogs. That really appeals to me.

GDB Puppy Sitter :)  – (January 22, 2011 at 10:56 PM)  

Congrats to both you and Cabana! :) I can't wait to read about more of your adventures together.

L^2  – (January 23, 2011 at 11:04 AM)  

Yay! Congratulations to you both!

Becky  – (January 23, 2011 at 12:51 PM)  

Congratulations to both of you! Sounds like some fun and incredible giving options for you to do.

Kari in WeHo  – (January 23, 2011 at 1:48 PM)  



Cassie and Dagan  – (January 23, 2011 at 7:38 PM)  

Congrats!! (Not that there was any doubt that Cabana would pass!) I can't wait to hear about where you end up!

Samantha  – (January 24, 2011 at 8:52 AM)  

That is super cool Mimi! Congrats Cabana! Both Sam and Avalon would have gone for the food immediately, stale or not! (After all, they eat mud and sticks etc.!) We look forward to hearing all about her visits and the people she meets - sounds like a really hard test! BTW, here is one place you can find that duck! - enjoy!
Sammie, Avalon and Ozzie

OSU 98  – (January 25, 2011 at 5:39 AM)  

I knew Cabana would do great!!! And she will be great in whatever setting you decide. She will bring so much happpiness to everyone she sees...and she will know she did a good job. :)

Congratulations Mimi and CAT Cabana. :) You done good.

Sierra Rose  – (January 26, 2011 at 7:37 AM)  

Great news! Congratulations to you and Cabana!!!

Sweet hugs,
Sierra Rose

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