Pet Therapy Visit

Bearbear and I were certified early this year as a pet therapy team through Pet Partners, the nation-wide organization for pet therapy teams.

Bearbear and I go to a hospital to visit, as well as the Ronald McDonald House, but for obvious reasons we take no photos. Today, however, we were outdoors at Tucson Medical Center’s annual NICU graduation picnic, for babies and their families who have had to spend time in our Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Here’s a nice shot of me and Bearbear in our volunteer uniform, one of my colleagues took the picture:

Clare and Bearbear: Therapy Team!

Bearbear just passed his exam to be a therapy dog; of course, as his handler, I had to pass the test, too. I think I was the bigger variable, personally.

Of course, Bearbear did very well. Except for the part where he had to demonstrate his excellent “down”. He had to do this after the part of the test where he was intentionally startled, to assess his overall composure. He was fine, but after being scared he gave me this look (pardon me for anthropomorphizing) that said, “You expect me to do WHAT after THAT?” I had to try 3 times but he finally agreed to work with me.

We took a 2 month-long class to prepare for the test. Then a trip to the vet for a $120 signature to say he’s healthy. Then, all the paperwork was submitted along with a fee for registration and insurance to Pet Partners, the national organization for therapy animals. This is the photo I sent them: I hope it can be used for our badge. This photo is a few years old, my sister took it:

Once we get our badge, we’ll be volunteering a few days a month at the hospital where I work, as well as the Ronald McDonald house which is very close to my home: even therapy dogs need easy commutes!