On Thursday February 13th PAWS of CNY volunteer Katie Rossi and her Golden Retriever Riley met with a local girl scout troop at Moses DeWitt elementary school to teach them about pet therapy work and how therapy dogs are trained and tested for service.
Rossi and PAWS of CNY Vice President Jessica Marabella described therapy dog service work to the girl scouts and described the therapy dog certification test that dogs must pass in order to become certified by the organization. Riley perfectly demonstrated such commands as sit, stay, recall, and leave-it.
When asked about the importance of teaching children about pet therapy work, Katie Rossi said “Students should understand that it takes time and effort in training a dog. Also, therapy dogs have a unique ability to communicate with people that we will never quite understand. Their compassion and enthusiasm to please are remarkable!”
When the demonstration and question and answer sessions were over the first question that all of the girls wanted to ask was “When do we get to pet Riley?!” Riley then gratefully accepted love and hugs from all of the girl scouts. Said Rossi, “The moment we stepped into the room Riley was on! The students immediately wanted to interact with him but listened to me when I asked them not to touch Riley until it was okay. I think it took a lot for Riley not to pursue his natural reaction to people, especially children [and] seek [their] love and attention. I was impressed how our training to remain focused on me and my commands superseded his desire to run for the kids! When they finally had the opportunity, they were well behaved and treated him gently. Riley was in heaven!”
If you are interested in having PAWS of CNY visit your students or organization, visit our programs page.