Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Therapy Dog - Go, River, Go!

Day 27 of 365

For Newbies: Here's how the story begins:  http://ruthperkinson.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-1-of-365anyone-want-to-come-along.html)

Remember the goal: Finding a producer or celeb or anyone who will help make Piper's Someday (the book River stars in) into a movie...

River's words of wisdom for today: "Ice Cream - GOD, I mean, GOOD!"

After Scout passed away, and Piper's Someday was written and sent to the publisher for editing, I relished in a bit of down time with the writing and celebrated the launch of my first book, Vera's Still Point. Scout takes precedence in this one as the dog, "Gracie Mac."

Late that fall, I was attending MCC services here in Richmond. If anyone ever comes to Richmond, MCC is a great place to worship, hang out, and meet warm people. I was chatting with two women after service one day and was telling them of River's story...you know...the bad dog becoming a better dog...and how she was incredibly smart - able to pick up tricks in no time. Both women said to me, "Well, if she's that smart and full of energy, you should make her a therapy dog."

A therapy dog? I'd sort of heard of it but wasn't quite sure what it all meant. One lady said that at VCU Medical Center, there was a need for dogs to come in and "be" with the patients and staff. It was a way to lift spirits of those who were hurting or, worse, departing.

I noodled it over and since I enjoy service work, I decided I would check it out. I asked River if she wanted to try and of course she jumped on me and did back flips. Or, so it seemed. After much deliberation and googling, I finally found a certified training center in Charlottesville, Virginia, called the Canine Campus. I e-mailed the trainer (Deven Gaston - a dog goddess) and she advised me to take River through the "Basics II" class first before I got her into the Therapy Dog program.

On an early January morning in 2007, River and I made the hour and twenty minute drive to Charlottesville to take our first class EVER.

I was so SCARED. River just put her nose out the cracked window and sniffed freedom.

I soon found out after that first class that I was the one who needed training - not River.

More on that tomorrow...River thanks all the people who are sending notes on Facebook and to my e-mail. We got her business cards yesterday and some bumper stickers. I'm jobless. I often think about packing up River into my borrowed truck and a box of books and driving to Hollywood myself.

Dreams are good.

Till tomorrow...here is a picture that foreshadows the outcome...it was taken in August of 2007. She passed the test on her first try.

I was one proud mom!


Ruth and River

For more of the book that River stars in, go to http://www.ruthperkinson.net/
or to Amazon or to http://www.bellabooks.com/

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