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PETS AS THERAPY

'Tajara Haziya of Falconite' (India)

India

 

One day at a Championship show, a dog wearing a ‘Pets As Therapy’ yellow jacket walked towards me ,the handler and I held a casual conversation about the charity she belonged to, and I moved on…Unbeknown to me that short encounter was the start of a ‘Quest’…. .I knew all breeds of dog did this work but could a Sloughi do this? More importantly WOULD a Sloughi do this?! ..I dismissed it as impossible. After all if there is one breed that is not exactly famous for their willingness to be touched, let alone fussed all over by strangers, it is the Independent, selectively deaf, haughty …. Sloughi ...…

But the seed of this ridiculous idea had now been sown in my mind, and it stubbornly refused to go away …Just one week later I took a deep breath and dived into the deep end...

I tapped into the’ Pets As Therapy’ web site, sent for the relevant forms, joined the Organisation, and requested the ‘Test form’!! …………….

There were options listed as to who could mark the test papers that I received... I chose a vet simply because he was nearest to my home, [and if we flunked then at least I could be back home in time for lunch!].Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the allotted date loomed that I remembered how India my Sloughi had to be dragged into a surgery, and more importantly, the speed with which I am normally dragged out!!

India as a Pets As Therapy Dog

 

Test day arrived. Suddenly this test did not seem such a bright idea. I levered India from her bed and headed for the Surgery …On our arrival I handed over the envelope which contained the paperwork and our test began…Looking back I realize that everything we did that day has huge relevance now ….

It started with five minutes of loose lead work, first inside then outside of the Surgery. Next I had to approach, and hold a short conversation with a couple in the surgery...Then came India’s favourite part of her morning so far, the offering of titbits, first by a female then by a male – This was followed by a hands on examination of the dogs mouth, body, tail, ears, and FEET – [Sloughi owners will know exactly what I mean when I say I silently willed her not to Riverdance me out of the nearest exit!]

The next 20 minutes followed in a similar vein, all simple exercises designed to test the dog’s reactions to various situations while being kept under control .And all the time the’ Tester’ was observing , scribbling and marking the paper .. Suddenly, while the dog and I were distracted, a chair clattered over onto the tiled floor behind us. I left the floor to a height of about four feet but to my surprise India went to investigate what had fallen over. I discovered later that the chair episode was to test ‘Reaction to loud and sudden noise’ …The test was declared over……………. Now I had to wait for the results ………………

Total elation, India had passed! Now there was only one more hurdle for us to reach our ultimate goal…. … Our names went onto the waiting list, until such time as an establishment requested a Pets As Therapy dog to visit.... Several uneventful weeks passed by when suddenly out of the blue came the e-mail ...An establishment had requested a’ Pets As Therapy’ dog, and would we be interested?..*We had made it* ….Words cannot describe my feelings on the day of our first ‘Official’ visit as I walked in and we headed along the corridor that would take us to the wards ,,,,,,How did our first visit go?....That’s another story……

 

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EMAIL: Julia@falconite.co.uk