Thursday, February 3, 2011

Therapy Dog School - Training Mom continues...

Day 29 of 365

For Newbies: Here's how the story begins:

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: "When you've got a dream, you've got to dig, dig, dig for it and never let go." (a bit of a spin on a Carol Burnett quote)

We drove to Charlottesville every week...

River and I made it through the "Basic II" tricks class over the course of about two months. She could do the basics really well and she could even do the trick "leave it" like no other dog in the class. I remember one class in particular where dogs were actually allowed to come and play in the middle of the group - sniffing, hopping, arcing, and playing "tag your it" for about twenty minutes. River loved it and fell in love with every boy dog she came into contact with. Dang. Her flirtiness cracked me up.

Then, we went home after that one and signed up for the next class. Since we had struggled through most of the first class, I asked the doggie goddess, Deven Gaston, if she thought River had it in her to make it through the Therapy Dog class; it was rigorous and you had to work hard and the tester was TOUGH - she failed more than half the dogs.

Deven said it was really up to me. River had come up through the ranks in the first class and Deven said I would have to take a leap of faith.

I did. We did.

We began again in April of 2007. This time when we entered the class, it was much different. There was a wheelchair, a walker, hospital equipment, and other dogs who'd made it through boot camp like River.

Deven said one thing on the first day of class that resonated with both River and me. If you didn't practice at home, you would surely fail the test. She gave us a large manual and told us to ink up with the Delta Society for certification. The cost wasn't much, but River and I were on a mission.

For today, let's call it destiny.

In May, I got the edits back on Piper's Someday. I had thirty days to finish them and get them back to my publisher. After work each day, River and I practiced our gig (more on that tomorrow) and I edited the book. It needed work and I watched River everyday as I stippled in the edits that would make the book complete. River was an excellent model.

Our spirits soared. We practiced the exercises and I practiced my hand at editing. Life was hard but good. We were marching onward to better things and the whole time I kept calling on my dog in heaven, Scout, to give us the will and energy to keep plugging away.

We got the energy and started to fly.

Love for today,

Ruth and River

The above picture was taken at an assembly of children at a special school here in Richmond. I love how the boy is draped over River...the black smudge in the shot is actually River's nose as I'm retaking the picture that is framed.

Go to for the book, Piper's Someday or to for more information. Please send us your dog stories...we want to here them...

1 comment:

  1. I love the photo....that child is in heaven !!!