Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ava: Therapy Dog?

A few weeks ago at work, a friend and I got to talking about how cool it would be if we could get our dogs certified as therapy dogs. Images flooded my mind of Ava having her belly rubbed by a group of kids in a hospital and of sitting on the laps of the elderly while they regaled her with war stories and pictures of their grandchildren. I decided to do a little research.

As soon as I pulled up the test drafted by Therapy Dogs International, it became painfully obvious that the only thing Ava would be able to give to the elderly and sick kids were heart attacks and fear. She would pretty much fail the entire test. Here are a few examples (pulled directly from the requirements brochure, which you can view here):

Accepting a Friendly Stranger
"This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation...The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness, and must not break position or try to go to the Evaluator."

FAIL. On our walks, Ava will lunge at strangers because she wants to attack them with her love.

Walking Through a Crowd
"The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers, without appearing overexuberant, shy, or resentful...The dog should not be straining at the leash."

FAIL. I've walked Ava past three or more people in my neighborhood. She wants to attack them ALL with her love. And in any crowd thicker than three people, I'm pretty sure she'd flip her shit.

Reaction to Another Dog
"Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 10 yards, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 5 yards. The dogs should show no more than a casual interest in each other."

FAIL. Ava will go from thinking she's hot shit around other dogs to being afraid of them to wanting to play in about three seconds. She can't figure them out. She may also have split personality disorder.

I'm just glad I looked up the test before I waltzed in and was all, "Go ahead and test my dog, she's awesome, and I'm sure she wouldn't give a Hospice patient high blood pressure." That would have been embarrassing.

* * *

So I swore that when I got a dog, I wouldn't be one of those crazy pet owners who open up Twitter and Facebook accounts for their animals because it was a little wackadoo. But then I thought of all the hilarious and inappropriate stuff I could tweet as my dog, so I caved and now Ava's on Twitter. Follow her if you want. She tweets about Justin Bieber.

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