August and I initially heard about therapy certification in December 2011 when we saw 2 therapy dogs at Barnes and Noble, I first wrote about our desire to get Eloise therapy certified back in July, we took our first steps toward making that happen by going through training classes at Petco in August, we were making good progress in November, and Saturday night we had our first official outing at a restaurant.
August and I showed up early so Eloise could get out some of her nervous energy in the parking lot.
Once Tracy (the trainer and owner of Paws of Purpose) arrived it was time to get her vest to make it official and enter the restaurant. Our goal when we take Eloise into a restaurant is for people to be surprised when she comes out from under the table at the end of the meal. We’d like people’s reaction to be something along the lines of “holy crap, I had no idea there was a dog under there, she was so quiet!”.
For her first time ever being in a restaurant, with lots of delicious smells, crazy noises, and strange people, Eloise did pretty awesome. Of course, she tried to come out from under the table a few times but that’s to be expected for the first go-round. After dinner, August and I were so excited to be able to take Eloise where ever we go that we decided to take a quick stroll through Walmart just for fun.
You sure get a lot more attention when you’re walking through a store with a dog!
When it came to our Sunday errands of course we took Eloise with us. First we hit up Costco followed by the Verizon store.
The process of officially getting Eloise certified will take anywhere from 4 months to one year from this point depending on how diligent we are about taking her places and working with her in public. We have a lot of requirements to fulfill; taking her through a revolving door, taking her to a large event such as a wedding or birthday party, making a trip to the zoo or aquarium, having her ride on a boat or ferry, and many others. Basically our goal is to have Eloise encounter every possible scenario to make sure she’s comfortable in every environment. We even have our 2nd official outing scheduled in 2 weeks for a trip to see an IMAX movie.
This journey of getting Eloise therapy certified will be a long one but August and I are super excited and you’ll definitely be hearing about each step as we go along. So get ready for lots of pictures of dogs in places you’d never expect a dog to be, like a bowling alley.