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782 Whittier Road - Derby Line - VT 05830
Canine Obedience by Claire Silver
Meet Dennis Bond and Daisy, a newly titled Therapy Dog of VT.
Dennis and Daisy graduated a very rigorous evaluation program to obtain certification from Therapy Dogs of VT in October 2019.
I have a special place in my heart for this new Therapy Dog Team. I met Dennis and Daisy when they enrolled in my Beginner Obedience Class in May 2019. Daisy was willful, LOUD, and exemplified why hounds can be tricky. Dennis never wavered in his dedication to training. He never missed a class, he booked additional private lessons, went the extra mile with his homework and to socialize Daisy. They graduated Beginner Obedience and went onto Intermediate Obedience Class and Daisy’s willfulness turned to willingness. Her distracted behavior turned to attention and Dennis and Daisy graduated most improved!
Next step Therapy Dog Training Class. Due to Daisy’s size ( miniature) we had to figure out some modifications that were comfortable not only for Daisy to visit with the Nursing Home Residents, but, ergonomically correct for Dennis too. The Decision was made that Dennis would do his visits sitting in a chair and holding Daisy . Daisy took to this new training like she was born to be a Therapy Dog. She was patient, polite and confident. She didn’t seem to mind any of the adaptive equipment , was good with small confining rooms or large hallway visits. She was unflappable! Dennis was a natural too. He made small talk with the verbal patients, he sat quietly with the people who just wanted to pet Daisy, and he facilitated a connection with the residents. They looked forward to his weekly class visits. Dennis was kind, respectful and never lost sight of his goal to become a certified therapy team with Daisy. After graduating from my Therapy Dog Training Class, Dennis signed up for the Vermont State Certification Program. Daisy and Dennis had to pass a preliminary evaluation, then went onto 3 on sight evaluations, where Daisy had to be Obedient , show a solid temperament when presented with high level distractions, tolerate strange touching, as well as show an understanding for what this type of work involves. Dennis and Daisy passed it all. I am so very proud , Dennis and his dog will bring joy and companionship to many people. His population focus group for therapy work is with the seniors in long term institutions. People who may be alone, out living family and friends, people who may be isolated and depressed. Dennis is a true blessing and an angel disguised in a hat carrying a little dog named Daisy.
I hope Dennis and Daisy’s story inspires others. There is a true need for Therapy Dog Teams in Orleans County, VT. Teams are not required to work in Nursing Homes : There are reading assistance programs in libraries and elementary schools; counseling assistance dogs in Junior High and High school, Hospitals, PT/OT the list is endless where dogs can help and people can make a difference.