How One Reader Rescued a Pitbull and Turned Him into a Therapy Dog
One Rachael Ray Every Day fan, Shelly Kueter, tells the story of opening her home and her heart to Kane, a sweet, smiley pup she found snoozing near her driveway.
At first, I was intimidated—who wouldn't be seeing a large, strange dog sleeping by your driveway? But when he came up to me with a big ol' smile and started kissing me, I knew he was something special. I wasn't sure if he was a stray or if he belonged to a neighbor, so I didn't take him in right away. Over the next few days, I noticed the poor pup walking around to different houses on my street to get food. He made all kinds of friends that way. Once I learned he didn't have a microchip, I decided I had to keep him.
My husband, Drew, was against it at first. We were both being stubborn; we took a three-hour road trip to a Garth Brooks concert in total silence. When we got home, Drew decided to sit with the dog and got to see how docile he is. I promised I'd take him to obedience school, which helped seal the deal. We named him Kane, and he became an inside dog right away. Now the two boys are inseparable. If Drew is doing yard work and gets all sweaty, he lets Kane lick his head! Kane also loves our cat, Bells, but that's a one-way street. He's constantly sniffing her, and she wants nothing to do with him.
At obedience school, Kane was a total ham—he would dance on his back, crawl across the floor, smile at everyone in the room. The instructor noticed how happy he was so she asked if we'd ever thought about making him a therapy dog to share his joy with other people. I decided she was right. We shouldn't be the only ones to see that smiling face every day. We signed up for a therapy-dog evaluation. In one exercise, six people came up to him at once. Apparently, most dogs get a little unnerved by that, but having everyone kiss and pet him was easily the highlight of Kane's day!
Now we're looking into volunteering at colleges to help relax stressed-out students. Kane gets along with everyone, and our neighbors all love him. He's the happiest little thing on the block. We feel very lucky to have him in our family, and we love him so much!
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Could your dog be a therapy pet?
If she's super obedient and cool under pressure and loves people more than anything, then she might be right for the job! Orgs like Pet Partners can hook you and your pup up with registration, which involves a handler course, an animal health screening, and a mock therapy-animal visit, where you'll also be assessed on how you manage your dog. Go to petpartners.org for more info.