About a year ago I was watching Animal Planet, or some similar station, and caught a television special on therapy dogs. These were very special pups who visited the sick, elderly and infirmed, bringing some good 'canine mojo' to their daily routine. Within minutes of watching the program, I knew this was just the thing for Dingo. He had the temperament required, loved people and really enjoyed being given important tasks.
I began doing research online and discovered TDI - Therapy Dogs International. From there I was given names two evaluators in Southern California. Remarkably, both these gals were the only ones remotely near Los Angeles, and each was over an hour away. I chose Joan up in Ventura as it was near the beach and I knew Dingo and I could make a day of it. He passed with flying colors, was issued a ribbon for his performance, got medical clearance from his vet and then his documents were filed with the State.
It was exactly a month later that our big plans as community servants got put on hold when Dingo became ill, and ultimately diagnosed with Lymphoma. Ironically his certification, ID and tags all arrived the same day he had his first chemo treatment, which was a dash of salt in the wound. At that time we really thought it might be close to over for our buddy, and the arrival of the package reminded Barry and I of all that might have been.
Now that Dingo has been responding well to chemotherapy and he's back on all four paws, we felt it important to move ahead as planned. TDI provided us with a list of hospitals and community groups in need of therapy dogs, and it's time to start making some calls. Now that his surgical scar has healed and his fur has begun to grow back he's presentable and ready for duty. I'm actually going to contact TDI next week to see if there are any children's cancer organizations that might be interested in having him come by once a week. I thought it might be helpful for the kids to get visits from a friend in the same situation as them, and hopefully get some inspiration from our lovable buddy.
So this post will hopefully be the first in a long series following Dingo on his quest for social outreach. Stay tuned for future reports.