Most people assume a therapy dog is one who visits sick people in the hospital. And although Gracey may cheer up others, her main task is to aid them in actual rehabilitation therapy. For example there will be many victims of stroke and she will be able to allow them to pet her while they stretch and build up muscles that have not been used. Instead of simply raising their arm to exercise, they will have something cuddly and soft to focus on. Some patients will also be learning to speak again. Gracey will perhaps be on their lap and they will point and say, “Ears, tail, or paw.” The opportunity we have to bless people is endless. She will even have her own badge and bandanna that will say “Gracey” on it!
Last night was Gracey’s evaluation. We were to demonstrate our ability to work as a team in front of 7 people. I would give commands and she would obey. They told us to walk in to a non-slip mat on the floor in one of the rehabs gyms. From there they asked us to execute about 15-20 different commands and would observe Gracey. Some of them were like, her sitting and staying while a walker or wheelchair went by. She had to be in a down (on her belly) position while I was 6 feet away and she was to stay for 3 minutes. They also tested her character and even had a HUGE dog there to see what she would do. They were to walk and then sit by each other. They also had to test her to see what she would do if startled. They told me to have her in a down position and then they dropped something loud behind her. They said if she jumped up to put her back in position and then she should be commanded to stay there for a minute. There are something’s to work on, but overall she did well.
I had so much fun! They sent us out to later be brought back in to the panel introduced as the newest therapy team! I don’t think I have been happier about something in a long time!
She will need to do standard training and will be on probation for 6 months like all the dogs are. We go in on Monday for our first training day and I am beyond excited. I know this is an opening for a way to serve the Lord and I plan to remember this is a reflection of His love.