My focus as a dog trainer in 2009 will be therapy dog teams.
My goal is to create relationships with facilities and organizations where therapy dogs have never gone before. I am meeting with staff at St. Joseph's Villa next week to discuss the many possibilities for us and our dogs.
I hope to take the 30 hours of required training for volunteers at the local domestic violence shelter this month. Once that is accomplished, I can guide anyone interested in this opportunity to the appropriate people.
To my knowledge, neither of these places has an existing therapy dog program. Both have expressed a great deal of interest in our dogs.
As I moved through the process of therapy dog work with Murphy and my students and their dogs, I realized that there is something missing. We train our dogs, we test with our dogs, we get ourselves registered with one of the national organizations, and then what? We go out in the world as therapy dog teams with no guidance or support. Another goal for 2009 is to create a support organization for therapy dog teams. I will keep you up-to-date on my progress.
For now, the very happiest of new years to everyone. Hugs to all the poochies.