Elvis’ Certificate of Achievement

I’d like to thank the SCOA (Spinone Club of America) for recognizing Elvis’ therapy work with a Certificate of Achievement for his AKC Therapy Dog Advanced title.

Two days after receiving his certificate, Elvis assisted in a patient’s physical therapy. Ok, all he had to do was lay on the floor, but during our therapy visit, a physical therapist who was working with the patient asked Elvis to lie on the floor. The patient then had to lean over and pet Elvis as a means of helping her regain balance.

Elvis’ certificate of Achievement

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Elvis earns THDA title

Elvis’ advanced therapy title

With well over 100 therapy visits, Elvis earned his Therapy Dog Advanced (THDA) title this week, spending it by conducting therapy visits and attending the Idaho Science and Technology Charter School.

Elvis enjoys visiting the Idaho Science and Technology Charter School

It’s been a busy week for the big guy, beginning on April 21 with therapy visits to the Idaho State Veterans Home. He and Glory, the VA Home’s live-in Emotional Support dog, or PTSD dog, renewed their acquaintance. Following our visit, I took Elvis for a walk around the Portneuf Wellness Complex where he enjoyed watching the ducks.

My presentations put Elvis to sleep

On Monday, we were invited back to the Idaho Science and Technology Charter School to give several classes a presentation on Spinone and therapy dogs. We both enjoy giving the presentations and when Elvis wasn’t sleeping, he was having interacting with the students.

Elvis models his THDA patch before going out on therapy vists

His work week ended Friday April 28 with therapy visits to the hospital’s rehab center and an assisted living center. One of the residents told us how much Elvis’ monthly visits mean to them and even though there are a variety of activities each day, it’s not the same as the companionship of a dog.

Elvis checks out the ducks following our visit to the VA home

Elvis meets Glory

The following blog has been updated with a couple of corrections.

Elvis met Glory this past Friday during his visit to the Idaho State Veteran’s Home. This was Glory’s second month as a staff member, following months of training as an Emotional Support Dog.

Elvis meets Glory in the activities room

She’s a beautiful white 11-month old Labradoodle who is still adjusting to life in a care facility with many distractions and many people. Glory has met a number of small dogs but Elvis is by far the largest dog she’s met, and was intimidated by him. However Elvis being his calm, cool, collected self gave her space and she did better after a walk through the halls with him.

Glory not sure what to think of Elvis

The VA home had been researching the benefits of Emotional Support Dogs prior to getting Glory, and she was selected partly because being a Labradoodle, residents who are allergic to dogs wouldn’t be affected by her fur. We will still continue our therapy visits but Glory, being at the VA Home every day, can provide much more therapy than our short monthly visits.

Sparrow in a gun barrel

Glory has already had a big impact on residents suffering from PTSD, their anxieties and stress are greatly reduced while spending time with her. And as Glory spends more time with Elvis, she should become more comfortable being around other large dogs.

Elvis goes to school

Elvis romps in the snow before therapy visits

Elvis romps in the snow before therapy visits

Elvis conducted his therapy visit at the VA home on Friday, then followed it up on Monday with a trip to school. We were invited to the Idaho Science and Technology Charter School to give presentations on therapy work, and Elvis was a big hit.

Elvis is saluted for his service

Elvis is saluted for his service

I gave an overview of the Spinone breed, training therapy dogs, types of therapy, and the impact that therapy dogs have on those whom they visit. Elvis demonstrated some of the tests that he needed to pass for his certification, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Discussing therapy work with Elvis

Discussing therapy work with Elvis

They all enjoyed petting him and were amazed when I demonstrated how to strip a Spinone. Everyone got a laugh out of Elvis when he made himself at home in the “poof” chair, which was much too small for him.

Elvis takes a nap during a presentation

Elvis takes a nap during a presentation

It was a visit they’ll remember for a long time to come, and we opened their eyes to the world of both therapy work and the Spinone.

Elvis claims the "poof" chair

Elvis claims the “poof” chair

Elvis re-certifies

Elvis passes his 2-year re-certification testing with Intermountain Therapy Animals.

Elvis passes his 2-year re-certification testing with Intermountain Therapy Animals.

Elvis was due for his 2-year re-certification with the Intermountain Therapy Animals (ITA) and last Sunday we made the drive to Salt Lake City, Utah for his testing.

Elvis receives his therapy dog certification  after passing his tests, 11-20-16

Elvis receives his therapy dog certification after passing his tests, 11-20-16

He passed his tests with flying colors and made some new friends in the process so he keeps his therapy dog certification for at least another two years. Great job, Elvis!

Doc and Mia brace on Pheasants

Doc and Mia work the reeds for Pheasants

Doc and Mia work the reeds for Pheasants

I braced Doc and Mia for the first time this year. I waited until after lunch to go hunting, after the morning rush of hunters had left and before the late afternoon crowd arrived.

Doc and Mia work into the wind

Doc and Mia work into the wind

We came onto a rooster just after starting out and the guys caught it out in the open as it was crossing some very thick deep mud. Maybe that’s why it didn’t flush at first, instead it hunkered down and tried to hide.

Doc honors Mia on point, the Pheasant trying to hide in the open

Doc honors Mia on point, the Pheasant trying to hide in the open

Mia was returning from some cattails she was hunting and went on point, which Doc honored nicely. They held the bird well enough for me to take several pictures before flushing it, and Mia made a nice retrieve.

Doc leads Mia back on her retrieve

Doc leads Mia back on her retrieve

We hunted for another three hours with no sign of birds. Even though the temperature was in the upper 50s, it was sunny and the guys were becoming hot so Doc cooled off by taking a swim in the drain ditch that we were hunting.

Doc cools off with a swim in the drain ditch

Doc cools off with a swim in the drain ditch

I was glad that I sprayed the guys down with ShowSheen before hunting because they really got into the cockle burrs and mud, but grooming them out was relatively quick and painless.

Doc and Mia pose with their Pheasant

Doc and Mia pose with their Pheasant

The guys enjoyed a lazy Saturday evening, Elvis from his therapy visits, and Doc and Mia from their Pheasant hunt.

Elvis doesn't want to get too close to the skeleton dogs

Elvis doesn’t want to get too close to the skeleton dogs

Mia, Doc and Elvis tired from a busy weekend

Mia, Doc and Elvis tired from a busy weekend

Labradoodles and noodles

Elvis joins mom and me for lunch at Noodles and Comapny

Elvis joins mom and me for lunch at Noodles and Comapny

The Idaho State Veteran’s Home will be getting a live-in PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) dog sometime in October or November, which will be an incredible benefit for our veterans. She’s a Labradoodle pup who will have undergone about four months of training by the time she officially arrives. Although still in training, she has already made several visits to the VA Home and some residents asked if Elvis was the new PTSD dog, indicating how excited they are for this new four-legged staff member.

Elvis and I will still be making our regular visits especially after Friday. We spent a long time talking dogs and hunting with one resident who had hunted with setters, as well as an Australian Shepherd that he trained to point and retrieve. He thanked us for our visit and said, “You rekindled a lot of memories. That’s important for someone like me whose had a stroke.”

Following our therapy visit, Elvis joined my mother and me for lunch at Noodles and Company.