Training Young Dogs for Therapy

Since we have no interest in breeding or showing, Shelby and Bailey got spayed after they turned six months old. This did not slow them down, but they really enjoyed having those tummies scratched while their hair grew back in. This also means I won’t have to worry about any unplanned litters or not being able to take them out on pet therapy visits since they will not go to into heat. That’s one of the rules with a therapy dog: females are not allowed to make visits when she is in heat.

We’ve learned to sit before the door will be opened to go outside so they don’t knock the door off the track. Shelby is built like the stocky Elkhound, so she’s like a tank going through. Bailey is taking on the slimmer build and looks to keep a puppy look to her face also. They also have to sit and wait for the door to their kennel to be opened before they are allowed to come out of it.

They turned a year old last December, but I waited to start getting them tested for therapy work so they could mature a little more and Bo was not ready to retire. Unfortunately, Bo left us suddenly at the beginning of June, but she got to make her last therapy dog visit just a week before.

Well, this left me with just Mya to take out to share with people, so I’ve been working to get testing arranged for Shelby and Bailey. Well, I’m thrilled to report that both of my girls have been approved and are now starting to carry on the tradition that Bo loved so much! It’s going to take a little while to figure out which visits each girl will get to go on and spend quality time with me, but they are stepping up and enjoying the opportunity to meet lots of new people and get all that wonderful attention. Mya will still get to go out with Grandma too. It’s so nice to have options!

Many residents got used to getting to see Bo over the years, but they have enjoyed getting to meet the other girls and look forward to seeing them each month.

I hope that Bo is watching and helping guide Bailey and Shelby as they step up to take on the wonderful work she did for close to 12 years. It’s tough not having my partner, but I look forward to making an even closer bond with my young girls as they help put the smiles on all those faces.

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